The independent, qualitative outcomes review was conducted by Jennifer Griffin-Wiesner, MEd, who served as an external, independent evaluator.
The external review sought to provide a baseline exploration of the question: Does promoting teachers’ growth in self-understanding, self-compassion, and inner-connectedness using the Internal Family Systems Model result in increased joy in teachers’ work as well as positive outcomes for their students?
The evaluation was conducted at the intersection of results from clinical IFS research that shows promising effects on mind (depression, anxiety), body (physical health conditions), and spirit (person resilience and self-concept) and from research on youth development that shows young people are more likely to thrive socially, emotionally, and academically in engaging environments rich with opportunities to develop positive relationships with supportive adults.
A number of tools were employer
Overall, the evaluation of the pilot program, referred to locally as Inner Lives of Teachers, indicates that it was a highly positive experience—both because of the IFS Model and the facilitators’ design and approach. Impactful for participants, due to time investment and deep work, the experience is worth replicating and examining in more depth. Nearly all participants indicated a desire to continue the work in some capacity, either on their own as an informal cohort or with some support from their administrators and the program facilitators.
Key Post-Program Outcomes
School Environment. Teachers emphasized in the focus groups that they work in a very difficult, challenging field, with high burnout and high mobility (teachers switch schools frequently, whether by choice or not). Students come to school with numerous significant needs and increasingly those needs include addressing mental health issues. The IFS Model and this new experience gave them, they said, tools for better helping and supporting students, while also attending to their own self-care, something many of them have tended to neglect.
Teacher Outcomes. On a scale of 1-5 (5 the positive end), the average ratings for the experience were above 4 on both personal and professional impact. Teachers referred in their surveys to various outcomes: strengthened relationships with family and friends, increased comfort level in interactions with others, and having better boundaries. On the professional effect, they shared that they are now more patient and better understanding of other people’s perspectives; they are collaborating more with onsite counselors and other student support staff members, are hopeful about the school year that was about to begin, and have a newfound willingness to be vulnerable and open with students.
Teachers self-reported positive change. Among what they shared, they experienced:
Teachers took their learnings to the classroom in 10 different ways; below is a small sample. Evaluating the effects on the students is under consideration.
Here is a sample of what participating teachers are doing following the workshops to translate their experience into the classroom: