Student support during parental deployment

MacDonald, Gail F., and Boon, Helen J. (2014) Student support during parental deployment. In: Proceedings of the Joint AARE and NZARE Conference. pp. 1-10. From: AARE-NZARE 2014: Joint AARE and NZARE Conference, 30 November - 4 December 2014, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

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Over 1000 Townsville based members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) were deployed on an 8-month military operation to Afghanistan from August 2011 until May 2012. A similar scenario occurred many times in the Townsville community between 1999 and 2013 as members of the ADF have been deployed repeatedly to East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. A military deployment presents major life changes for ADF members and their families. Families of ADF members learn to cope not only with having their loved one away on a dangerous operation but also with the additional pressures associated with having one less adult living in the family home (McGuire et al., 2012). Children in the family are required to adjust to changes in family structure and routines, and often take on additional individual responsibilities. It is not uncommon for students to express their reactions to these changes through behavioural changes at school. Academic progress, classroom and playground behaviour may be adversely affected by children's reactions to family stress (Leuscher, 2012; Huebner et al., 2007). Defence School Transition Aides (DSTAs) assist children and spouses of ADF members to develop positive coping strategies and build resilience to family changes associated with a parental deployment to a war zone. They are employed in over 100 Australian schools and offer a comprehensive program of support to students from ADF families in the school setting. During the 2011-12 deployment the DSTAs in Townsville articulated their work practice into a comprehensive model to enhance peer support networks for students and parents, facilitate communication between the family and school, promote whole school awareness of family contribution to military operational success as well as provide and facilitate individual student and parent support. This practice model has potential applications for a diverse range of families that also experience parental absence for varying periods of time. The identification of key times of potential stress for students and the application of well targeted strategies can assist to alleviate some of the pressures associated with family and individual child stress responses exacerbated by periodic parental absence.

Item ID: 38088
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISSN: 1324-9320
Keywords: student support, Australian Defence Force, deployment, resilience
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Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2015 03:25
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130312 Special Education and Disability @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930104 Moral and Social Development (incl. Affect) @ 100%
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