Program Evaluation

  • Studies

    Australian Study – Cyber-Bullying Education/Intervention Program

    In early 2014 the Cyber-Bullying Education/Intervention program was conducted with 180 Year 6-9 students across seven government and independent schools in Gawler, South Australia. Dr. Barbara Spears from the University of South Australia evaluated the program and found that adults and young people were highly supportive of the program. The key finding included:

    • Adults felt that it “had increased students’ awareness of the consequences of cyberbullying, particularly the emotional and criminal possibilities, and that the students had learnt skills, knowledge and tools…”.
    • Students reported that it “expanded their understanding of cyberbullying and its consequences, and they had better ideas about the practical skills needed to deal with it. They also indicated that they had better knowledge and understanding about the emotional and legal consequences of cyberbullying as a result.”

    US Study – Middle School Bullying Prevention Program

    Published in the prestigious 2012 School Mental Health journal in the USA, a study entitled Enhancing Student Attitudes via a Brief, Universal-Level Bullying Prevention Curriculum (Tyler L. Renshaw & Shane R. Jimerson from the University of California, Santa Barbara) found the US version of Stories of Us resulted in statistically significant positive changes in student attitudes.

    Australian Study – Primary School Bullying Prevention Program

    The University of South Australia awarded a 1st Class Distinction for an Honors’ Thesis on Stories of Us. Richard Stephens’ study (with Dr. Barbara Spears as second author), involved an evaluation of the use of the Australian primary Bullying resource – and recorded a significant positive shift in student attitudes. The quantitative study concluded that: “Viewing the Stories of Us videos and participation in the corresponding class work had a measurable, statistically significant, positive influence on student attitudes towards victims”. Importantly, the post-intervention findings included a 20% decrease in those who felt: ‘Kids who get picked on usually deserve it’. The qualitative summary includes a comment from the school counsellor: “I thought the sessions went extremely well. The classes maintained interest throughout, even the third viewing, which surprised me. The kids really related to the story and the characters. It was a valuable resource which complimented the work that we have been doing on bystanders very well”

  • Survey Feedback

    The survey feedback from visitors to our Family Drug Support Online resource has been overwhelmingly positive. The vast majority of visitors found the website “Very Helpful” and felt “Better” or “Much Better” able to cope after working through the video chapters. Comments include:

    “Watching this series is like watching our story. It’s helped me understand our different reactions & responses to our sons drug use, highlighted coping strategies & the importance of boundaries & self care. When & how to communicate was invaluable.” [User age: 20-25 yrs. Relationship to user: Parent. Duration of drug use: >3 yrs]

    “Very well presented, in stages so it’s easy to understand and connect the concepts. Also seeing and hearing others experiences which are like mine. Feel less desperate and alone. Also feel like a support group isn’t such an impossible scary option! Thank you.” [User age: 20-25 yrs. Relationship to user: Parent. Duration of drug use: >3 yrs]

    “It helped to know that we are not alone, all of the chapters reinforced our own feelings, communication etc. it made me quite emotional watching this, I cannot thank you enough for allowing us to do so. Absolutely fantastic.” [User age: 26-30 yrs. Relationship to user: Parent. Duration of drug use: >3 yrs]

    “I found it very helpful as I’ve just found out my son is a drug addict and have been feeling completed helpless in knowing what to do. I’m in fear constantly of where his aggressive behaviour the ice has caused is going to lead him, so this has given me some idea of what to expect. Thank you.” [User age: 20-25 yrs. Relationship to user: Parent. Duration of drug use: 1-3 yrs]

    “It gave me much more experienced, sensible, emotionally & rationally supported information with practical techniques to put into practice for one’s self, family and addicted one. Left me with a calmness. Thank you.” [User age: 31-40 yrs. Relationship to user: Parent. Duration of drug use: >3 yrs]

    “What a great series of videos. I have lost a son in 2010 due to suicide due to ice. Our family was/is still devastated and now another son is using ice, stealing, lying, broken trust. I am walking that tightrope every day. I wish we had this group in Toowoomba. I need a place to talk.”  [User age: 31-40 yrs. Relationship to user: Parent. Duration of drug use: >3 yrs]

    “…made me more comfortable to attend a local group…It made me realise that I am not alone.”  [User age: >40 yrs. Relationship to user: Friend. Duration of drug use: >3 yrs]

    “I found these videos so helpful with the way that I approach my alcoholic daughter, who has lived with me for a year having lost her 2 children, husband and home because of her serious drinking problem. I could relate to comments made by members of the group and it helped me so much.”  [User age: Over 40 yrs. Relationship to user: Parent. Duration of drug use: >3 yrs]

    “…the themes discussed really rang true with me. The messages in the videos are really clear and I feel were more helpful to me than just reading about them. Thanks so much.”  [User age: 26-30 yrs. Relationship to user: Parent. Duration of drug use: 4-12 mths]

    “I felt these videos were honest [and] a very helpful reminder on how to keep communication channels open.” [User age: >40 yrs. Relationship to user: Parent. Duration of drug use: >3 yrs]

    “…very informative. I was nervous about the idea of going to a face to face support group, so this was a great introduction to how they work.” [User age: 20-25 yrs. Relationship to user: Sibling. Duration of drug use: >3 yrs]

    “I wish you had a support group nearer to me – I would love to go…”  [User age: 20-25 yrs. Relationship to user: Friend. Duration of drug use: >3 yrs]


  • Testimonials

    Education Professionals

    “Stories of Us is the best, most realistic account of bullying in schools that I have come across. The videos provide an excellent way of introducing the subject of bullying in schools to students as a prelude to constructive classroom discussion. Unlike many other videos on the same theme, Stories of Us will hold the interest of students because the stories are told in dramatic form by students as only they can tell it. These videos provide compulsive viewing for both children and educators.”
    – Dr Ken Rigby, University of South Australia

    “ASPA fully recommends and endorses these high quality resources to all secondary teachers and schools. They focus on the key issues that are at the heart of student wellbeing and importantly they demonstrate the power and value of student voice.”
    – Sheree Vertigan, President, Australian Secondary Principals Association

    “APPA takes great pleasure in endorsing two video resources for upper primary students on Bullying and Belonging. These are areas that all of us grapple with on a daily basis in our schools and these two videos have been developed in consultation with student counsellors, teachers, Mindmatters and beyondblue. They really are a fantastic resource and should be in every primary school in the nation.”
    – Leonie Trimper, President, Australia Primary Principals Association

    “[The Method os Shared Concern is] the best training tool I’ve seen (I teach counseling skills and none of the tapes are anywhere near this effective). I cannot praise this highly enough”
    – Dr Sheri Bauman, University of Arizona 

    “(Readymade’s) Chris Faull provided great creative expertise for this project and worked in a way that was wonderfully collaborative and respectful of the children, staff and consultants. The project was on time, on budget and delivered the key messages of the Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculum that we wanted. Thank you Chris.”
    – Mary Carmody, Catholic Education SA

    “Stories of Us is wonderful resource that engages young people and leads them in discussing bullying situations. A great resource for schools.”
    – Andrew Fuller, Clinical Psychologist & Family Therapist, Melbourne

    “I didn’t have high expectations of the video series even though in my initial viewing of it I thought it was quite good. As a teacher you can be inundated with well-being products. But the impact of the video on the kids was unbelievable. They recognised their own language, behaviours and culture, it blew them away.”
    – Kate Pollock, Teacher, Hillsmeade Primary School, Victoria

    “The students were highly engaged in the videos. The teacher notes encouraged excellent discussion in our classroom. One of the best resources I have ever used.”
    – Karen Box, Student Counsellor, Streaky Bay Area School, SA

    My students, racially, economically, and experientially diverse, came together in a way that I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing in my 16 years of teaching. It was remarkable! Discussing an issue so all-reaching and meaningful as bullying, and working together in situations which required trust, allowed peer groups, formerly unmatched, to come together. It was beautiful.”
    – Shameem Rakha, Teacher, Franklin Middle School, Illinois 

    “Many of the issues I deal with when counselling students or dealing with issues of Student Behaviour Management revolve around bullying and harassment. These three videos are outstanding, they’re Australian, they’re real and they present it as it is.”
    – Louise Ward, Middle School Co-ordinator, Student Behaviour Management, Henley High School, SA

    “The striking characteristic of the video was the absolute sense of reality and credibility of both characters and scenarios. It accurately and poignantly portrays what, regrettably for many, is a daily occurrence. Viewing the video, I was convinced its contents would strike an immediate and strong chord with students. The vignettes would give rise to at least three lessons, and appraisal and strategy development. An excellent resource.”
    – David Richards, Student Counsellor, Craigmore High School

    “This resource is a valuable contribution to invite young people to take a stand against bullying and harassment.”
    – Brook Friedman, Manager Five Schools Bullying Prevention Project, Adelaide

    “Educators at the middle level have been at a loss to identify effective tools and resources to assist us in working with our school community to address this concern.  Stories of Us will immediately engage students, teachers and parents alike to work together to positively enhance the school climate and provide a safe and caring learning environment for all students.”
    – Dr. Carol Stack, Principal, Illinois 

    “They are remarkable tools which educators can use to assist school and classroom efforts to stem the rise of bullying. The associate materials accompanying the films guide both educator and student in meaningful conversation, which can lead to insightful resolution of real life issues. As you consider how best to resolve local bullying concerns, Stories of Us should be highly regarded in that effort.”
    – Peter F. Murphy, Executive Director, Californian League of Middle Schools

    “The best film series that I have seen  in addressing the issue of bullying on middle school campuses. My students found the  films realistic and felt the story plots were timely and that any student could identify with the students in the stories.”
    – Kristi Morris, Counselor, Goleta Valley Junior High, California

    “The storylines and dialogue are that of the students and it is so realistic that I felt at times I was reviewing a surveillance tape instead of watching a scripted drama unfold in front of me.”
    – Patti Kinney, National Association of Secondary School Principals (USA)


    “I never thought about what I should do as a person (bystander) who knows about someone else that gets bullied. Now I think I will try and help support them.”
    – Student, Emmanuel College, QLD

    “I thought the victims actually kept egging on the bullies, so then the bullies did it… but they don’t. The vicitms are normal people.”
    – Student D, Pilot Evaluation

    “I think the class really learnt something from it.”
    – Student G, Pilot Evaluation

    Trial Class

    During development a trial class was run with a Year 9 class at an average suburban public secondary school –– under normal circumstances, with their teacher conducting the class. The only concession to the trial process was that both versions of the episode were run in one double lesson, which would ideally be run over two separate sessions.

    The students were totally engaged in the video, and there was lively discussion afterwards. They watched the Play Version, were asked questions from the Teacher’s Guide to trigger discussion, then they watched the Segmented Version – this time with more in-depth questions. The discussion was so focused that they ran out of class time… however the Year 9 students asked to stay back into their lunch period so they could see the video to the end a second time!

    When asked for feedback as to how the resource might be improved, the students only criticism was that the video “could have been longer”.

    Some of the students asked for more details of the dramatised characters’ private lives – they were convinced that what they were watching was real.