Birgitta Kimber NHPRV2013

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Social and Emotional Learning – a controversial issue in Sweden

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Birgitta Kimber NHPRV2013

  1. 1. Birgitta Kimber, Researcher Charli Eriksson, Professor - presenter School of Health and Medical Science Social and Emotional Learning – a controversial issue in Sweden
  2. 2. Social and Emotional Learning • The now widespread implementation of social and emotional learning (SEL) programs in Swedish schools has resulted in a variety of reactions. • These programs are designed to promote student well-being, and raise issues relevant not only in Sweden but also internationally
  3. 3. Objectives • To examine effects of Swedish social and emotional training (SET program) • To analyze the controversies on the SEL programs
  4. 4. Results • In general, SET was found to have moderate positive impacts on a range of emotional variables, reflecting aspects of mental health, and also a positive curvilinear relationship with social skills. Also, favorable trajectories were detected for some subgroups of SET students with regard to substance use. • Swedish systematic reviews: SET has limited support
  5. 5. Impact of enhanced SEL – meta-analysis Durlak et al Child Development, 2011; 82(1): 405-432. 213 school-based program, 270034 children
  6. 6. Scientific Issues • Evidence-based practice • Risk analysis: a strong foundation in international life-skills research • Efficacy and effectiveness studies • Attrition
  7. 7. Substantive Issues • SET as therapy: whether social and emotional issues should be treated within structured, manual-based program, such as SET, or left to the individual teacher • SET as a harmful intervention: negative impact of specific exercises and procedures (based on non-empirical speculations!) • Reminder of bullying behavior • Confidentiality and forced participation
  8. 8. SET in need of development • While having a confidence in the capacity of teachers to handle social and emotional issues, SET still needs to be further developed, in particular through feedback, allocating a prominent role to school leaders, and evaluating training, fidelity and aspects of implementation.
  9. 9. Conclusions • A balance is needed between the risks of harmful effects and of failing to achieve beneficial ones. • Moreover, the participation of stakeholders of all kinds would be welcome in the development of programs of this kind.

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