Incorporating a small-group affective curriculum model into a diverse, summer program for talented youth: A design based research study

Enyi Jen, Purdue University


In this study, I used Design-Based Research (DBR), as a methodological framework, to guide the development and implementation of the GERI Affective Model into a diverse, university-based, summer enrichment residential program for talented youth. The purposes of this study were to build an evidence-based affective intervention, to explore how participation in the affective curriculum influenced high-ability students' social and emotional development and to use the results to refine the GERI Affective Model before dissemination. This research included two phases, an initial design phase in 2012 to 2013 and an outcome study in 2014. In the initial design phase, I designed the prototype of the Model, collected field notes to document what need to change in 2012, and used the notes with the program evaluation data in 2012 to revise the Model. I re-implemented it in 2013. The results, from the student surveys in 2013 (n =377, almost 100%) supported that the GERI Affective Model in 2013 was robust. In 2014, I re-implemented the similar Model in 2013and investigated outcomes. The participants of the outcome study were the professional trainer (n =1), discussion group facilitators (n = 24), and high-ability students (n = 101) from several countries who participated in the 2014 summer program. I used video recording, observations, and interviews to collect data. The results suggested that all four elements of the Model, including training, the format of the small-group meetings, monitoring and support components, and the topics, were needed for an effective intervention. In addition, feedback from high-ability students was overwhelming positive (n = 93, 92%), with the exception of eight students (8%) who reported negative feedback based on the different reasons. High-ability students reported that they benefited from the affective curriculum in three ways: (a) the discussions influenced their interaction with their group members positively; (b) they learned something through the discussions; and (c) the group discussion experience enriched their program experience. Among these student participants, an analysis of interviews with 24 returning Native American students from three tributes (i.e., Diné, Ojibwe, and Lakota) found 68% of them mentioned that they had changed their behaviors during the past year because of their participation in small-group discussions the previous summer. The changed behaviors mentioned most by these students, across the three tribes, were stronger self-confidence and being more open to people. Additionally, the camp counselors who served as the group facilitators reported positive experiences leading the group discussions and stated they got to know their high-ability students better and that the GERI Affective Model influenced the program climate positively. These camp counselors were able to use what they had learned in the training and debriefing meetings in combination with their own strengths to facilitate their groups effectively. Finally, the summer enrichment residential program, as a context, and the GERI Affective Model, as a designed intervention, reciprocally influenced each other. Since cultural diversity was one of the highlights of this residential program, it influenced group dynamics. In this study, cultural diversity was largely a positive factor that enriched the discussion although, sometimes, the language barrier was challenging. In general, the findings demonstrated that the planned affective intervention, i.e. the GERI Affective Model with four elements (i.e., training, format of the small-group meetings, monitoring and support components), benefitted the high-ability students who participated in program that was studied and that this type of affective intervention has potential for implementation in other summer programs to benefit even more students.




Moon, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Gifted Education|Counseling Psychology

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