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What’s love got to do with it? Social and emotional skills in sustaining learning in low-income and post-conflict contexts

Tue, April 16, 3:15 to 4:45pm, Hyatt Regency, Atrium (Level 2), Boardroom C

Group Submission Type: Formal Panel Session

Proposal

As improving the quality of learning has emerged as the central tenet of Sustainable Development Goal 4, the scope of learning has expanded beyond basic reading and arithmetic to include non-cognitive outcomes. For example, an increasing number of children around the world are receiving instruction in mindfulness. Social and emotional learning (SEL) has been adopted by international development agencies as a key component of their education work. The International Network for Education in Emergencies has issued a Background Note on Psychosocial Support (PSS)/SEL (2017) and a Guidance Note on PSS (2018). Researchers are exploring the effects of SEL on academic achievement. Others are linking achievement of SDG Target 4.7--global citizenship education, education for sustainable development, human rights education, gender equality, appreciation of cultural diversity, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence—to increased emotional engagement in school. SEL is regarded as a critical component of the citizenship research agenda.

This panel highlights how SEL skills are defined and vary across low resource and post-conflict countries, where the need for social and emotional development is arguably greatest; the degree to which existing education materials support or undermine SDG Target 4.7, SEL or both; and ways SEL can be more effectively integrated into educational materials, all suggested as potential pathways for achieving and sustaining SDG 4. SDG Target 4.7 speaks to the heart of citizenship and democratic education, while SEL bridges the space between the internal psychological and the social and community. Learning that can be sustained and drive action beyond schooling years must engage students on social and emotional levels.

These papers represent a continuum of methodologies and issues in applied research, starting with less visible and hidden curriculum of gender roles provided in ways girls and women and shown, or excluded from presentation, in instructional materials developed at national levels; to the social and emotional learning (and challenges) of teaching young people about difficult parts of their national past at national and classroom levels; to school culture and climate; and to ways international organizations promote action in this area. The intention is to attention on these issues on national, classroom and school, and international levels.

The panel Chair has carried out considerable research on cognitive, social-emotional, and behavioral dimensions of teaching Global Citizenship Education and Education for Sustainable Development across national curricula. Introductory remarks will be made by a leader of major international development organization. The Discussant is author of seminal research in SEL in Africa.

Summaries of Individual Presentations

Representation of Women in History Textbooks
The exclusion of women from textbooks has been widely documented across a wide range of disciplines, including English language textbooks; science and mathematics; literacy; mother tongue, literacy, vocational, and educational guidance. Drawing on content analysis of nine core textbooks in lower secondary history textbooks from three East African countries, this paper explores the extent to which women are represented and ways in which they are depicted.

Teaching of “Difficult” History: Dilemmas in Enacting SEL in Divided Societies

Typically school history teaching downplays or ignores negative positive parts of a nation’s history. “Difficult history” is indeed difficult to teach, especially in contexts of internal division or conflict. There may be no consensus about what happened; a nation may not have come to terms with its past; teachers may not know how or be reluctant to introduce difficult topics productively. This paper examines pedagogies of teaching difficult history, looking across cases (including potentially Germany, South Africa Rwanda, Bosnia, Canada, U.S., Australia, East Asia) in which documented attempts were made, conditions which favored and inhibited those efforts.


Organizational Culture and School Climate Matter in SEL

Until recently, little research has addressed how social skills are understood and prioritized in low- and middle-income countries. Research findings from schools not receiving external SEL programming that nonetheless score high on measures of school climate, gender responsiveness, inclusion and safety in Malawi and Uganda underscore the dynamics of school culture and climate in nurturing student’s positive social and emotional development. These schools appear to intentionally organize themselves to promote students’ social and emotional wellbeing, inherently connected to their love for learning, their retention and performance


Making Global Education Goals Sustainable, 1990-2018: Reading, Mathematics and Social-Emotional Learning

Traces the changing focus of global education goals from the 1990 Education for All (EFA) Conference to the 2018 World Development Report in the rise of conferences, organizations and strategies. Over time, comprehensive approaches to education reform have been replaced by more selective ones that draw on lessons learned, putatively, from health. What are the origins of current interest around SEL in education among international development agencies? How does it compare with earlier education initiatives promoted at the global level? What is the relationship between sustainability and SEL?

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