Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Arts




Rodger, Susan


Developing feasible universal school-based programs that help children develop social and emotional competencies is crucial for the development of improved mental health in children, especially those who have been exposed to trauma. Educators need to be motivated to implement such programs with high quality so that intended outcomes are more likely to occur, but a variety of both internal and external factors can affect implementation. The present study explores these factors by inviting the perceptions of implementers and support staff who were involved in an SEL program called MindUP. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight participants, the interviews were transcribed and then analyzed using a thematic analysis. Themes that emerged as important to implementation were systemic factors, individual factors, outcomes, and developing competence. Self-Determination Theory was used to frame the results. The findings suggest that having a supportive school culture, being willing to learn and internalize the MindUP philosophy, seeing a difference in the classroom, and comprehending the evidence-based concepts and curriculum, all have an influence on implementation. The findings suggest that incorporating a trauma-informed framework with MindUP and the development of a formal coaching structure help implementers effectively implement MindUP. The significance of this study is that it conceptualizes factors that implementers perceive to be important to effectively implement MindUP.

Summary for Lay Audience

Children often struggle with developing social and emotional competencies, which can lead to long-term negative consequences, such as poor mental and physical health. By having a program that develops these competencies, students can develop skills that will help them navigate through life. Social-emotional skills aid in developing good communication skills, peer relationships, self-awareness, responsible decision making, and help with academic success by teaching students to self-manage, such as regulate their emotions and manage stress. Luckily, there are programs, such as MindUP, that can aid students in developing social-emotional skills, called Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs. For an SEL program to be successful, educators need to implement it as it was intended, since this often leads to the intended results of social emotional skills being developed. However, various organizational and personal factors can affect implementation. The purpose of this was to explore these factors. Eight district trainers (expert implementers) were interviewed regarding their experiences training implementers and their personal experiences implementing MindUP. The interviews were analyzed by looking for common themes within and across interviews. The first theme is systemic factors, which means that participants highlighted the importance of a supportive school staff, supportive relationships with other implementers, and sharing knowledge and resources. The second theme is individual factors, which means that participants believed having an open mindset and buy-in to the program helped with implantation. The third theme, outcomes, outlines how perceived successful outcomes and student behaviour affect implementation. The last theme is developing competence, which explains that participants believed that having a solid understanding of the MindUP curriculum and practices affected implementation. The key findings are that supportive school culture should be encouraged, along with the importance of developing a belief in the effectiveness of the program and a thorough understanding of MindUP. The findings create a comprehensive outline of what factors can aid in effective implementation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.