Promoting mindfulness and readiness to change: A comparison of teaching strategies for college students mandated to alcohol and drug education
Krupski, Laurie A
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College substance use is a serious problem, partly because many students do not view their use as problematic. Designing effective prevention programs that enhance awareness and life-skills can pose a tremendous challenge on college campuses. This may be especially true in the field of alcohol and drug education where student interest and motivation to learn about associated consequences and risks may not match the need perceived by educators. In addition, the effectiveness of traditional classroom teaching and learning strategies may not generalize to this arena. Therefore, the present study was designed to examine the value of student-centered teaching strategies that were compared with traditional methods. The dependent variables for the study were derived from theories of learning and behavior change, including mindfulness, readiness to change, and attitudes related to alcohol and drug use. The sample consisted of 64 traditional college-aged students who were referred to the program as a result of violation of campus alcohol or drug policy. Participants were randomly assigned to either a traditional or student-centered group. Repeated measures analyses of variance produced evidence of significant changes in the traditionally taught group for mindfulness, readiness to change and attitudes about alcohol and drug use. Reported satisfaction levels were more positive among the student-centered instruction group. The results suggest that a staged model of instruction structured around first emphasizing awareness and knowledge through traditional forms of instruction prior to incorporating student-centered techniques may provide an effective synthesis of the two teaching methods and should be tested in future research.