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The application of social-emotional learning principles to a special education environment

Authors:
  • Urban Assembly

Abstract

Social-Emotional Learning plays a uniquely important role for students with special needs and the staff that serve them. This paper examines the strengths and challenges of students in two categories of special education: students classified as Emotionally Disturbed (ED), and students classified with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the social-emotional domain of functioning. In addition, the paper will present a model of incorporating Social-Emotional Standards and development through a school-wide approach in a large special education district in New York City and present policy implications for both general education and special education environments. The impact of this model on behavior, social-emotional skill development, and school practices is discussed.
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... For those students with an emotional disturbance (ED) classification, the acquisition of social-emotional learning competencies (SEC) is critical to their academic and interpersonal success [1][2][3]. Children with learning disabilities struggle to develop their SEC. For example, they have difficulty developing the ability to recognize emotions in themselves and others, i.e., self-and social awareness, the ability to regulate and manage emotions, i.e., self management, and to set positive and realistic goals, i.e., goal-directed behavior [1]. ...
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Article
Addressing the interpersonal challenges that students with Emotional Disturbance (ED) classifications experience is critical to their success in and outside the school setting. Improving their self- and social awareness will strengthen their ability to navigate social relationships in and outside school. The planning and evaluation of interventions targeting the development of self- and social awareness requires psychometrically sound assessment instruments. Using the Graded Response Item Response Theory (GRM) approach, this study provides evidence of the reliability of the self- and social awareness subscale of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) among students with an ED classification. The study participants were a sample of 449 youth attending schools serving students classified as emotionally disturbed in self-contained and inclusion settings. The examination of GRM item parameters (i.e., item discrimination and difficulty) and the information curves (i.e., test and item information curves) provides evidence of the reliability of DESSA’s self- and social awareness subscales across a broad range of students’ levels of self- and social awareness.
... Nonetheless, practitioners who may not have been exposed to the theories underlying SEL practices may use approaches that create the perception that they are "giving" student social-emotional competencies rather than increasing the fluency and consistency of pre-existing skills. Outside of the presence of severe trauma, developmental disabilities, or other medical conditions (Adams, 2013), social-emotional growth unfolds along a developmental pathway reflecting temperament, environmental interactions, and intentional learning (National Research Council, 2000). As such, culturally sustaining approaches to SEL emphasize the idea that they are building on the skills students already have rather than creating new ones. ...
Chapter
This chapter discusses social-emotional learning (SEL) in urban schools and the impact of these interventions on student academic achievement, behavior, self-efficacy, and instances of stress and depression. Utilizing Critical Race Theory (CRT) and the White-Savior Industrial Complex, the authors provide a conceptual framework for developing a culturally responsive SEL program for urban youth. Because the teaching demographics in the United States consisting of over 80% white educators, the authors discuss the importance of implementing SEL practices that specifically address racism at the individual and institutional levels.
... While many frameworks conceptually draw on perspective-taking skills (Markowitz & Bouffard, 2020;Perez, 2021), there is little experimental literature on how to improve these skills in educators. There is some emerging literature (Caruso et al., 2020;Hoffman et al., 2020) that focuses on improving perspective-taking skills of teachers, although much of the scientific evidence comes from developmental psychology and concentrates on students on the Autism Spectrum (Adams, 2013;Gould et al., 2011;Pearson et al., 2013). Approaches such as the relational responding that require the speaker to change perspective between different references of person, such as I versus you, place, such as here versus there, and time, such as now versus then, may hold promise as skill training opportunities to improve teacher performance around perspective-taking (Heagle & Rehfeldt, 2006). ...
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Teacher social emotional competence has been connected to literacy development as well as broader academic outcomes through the domains of Emotional Support and Classroom
... These findings provide support for the potential of a social-emotional learning-based intervention to facilitate positive social and emotional development. This is in contrast to commonly used social skills-based approaches that have produced inconsistent results, and often lack positive outcomes, social validity, and generalizability beyond the initial instructional environment [20,21]. ...
... Social aptitude is defined as the inherent ability or awareness of the external environment, i.e. people and their context. Social aptitude includes the multiplicity of social skills that enhance a person's social efficacy (Adams, 2013). The acquisition of social aptitude by students with ED is limited, due to their inability to form sustainable and workable relationships. ...
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Learners living in challenging socio-economic circumstances face limited opportunities for further education and employment. In this context, formal career guidance which merely provides information about specific jobs and how to access them may be of little use. This article explores the usefulness of participatory visual strategies as a pedagogical tool for teachers to help learners think more critically, realistically and hopefully about their future life opportunities. Analysed through a resilience lens, findings indicated that the strategies inspired hope in learners; helped them identify assets and barriers in their social ecologies; develop a sense of agency and responsibility for deciding on their futures; and care more for other people, all of which will help them make more constructive choices for life after school. The findings might help teachers make their career education more relevant for children who live in contexts of adversity.
... Social aptitude is defined as the inherent ability or awareness of the external environment, i.e. people and their context. Social aptitude includes the multiplicity of social skills that enhance a person's social efficacy (Adams, 2013). The acquisition of social aptitude by students with ED is limited, due to their inability to form sustainable and workable relationships. ...
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This paper examines the external contingencies that students with emotional disabilities (ED) experience throughout childhood and adolescence. It presents an in-depth assessment of the impact of external dynamics on the emotional development of students with ED, and considers the school, home, and community support systems. The paper assesses school implementation and the ability to influence the regulation process, along with a review of strategy that assists schools and parents in assessing interventions.
Chapter
This chapter discusses social-emotional learning (SEL) in urban schools and the impact of these interventions on student academic achievement, behavior, self-efficacy, and instances of stress and depression. Utilizing Critical Race Theory (CRT) and the White-Savior Industrial Complex, the authors provide a conceptual framework for developing a culturally responsive SEL program for urban youth. Because the teaching demographics in the United States consisting of over 80% white educators, the authors discuss the importance of implementing SEL practices that specifically address racism at the individual and institutional levels.
Chapter
In this chapter, we make the case and propose policy recommendations to the US Secretary of Education, as well as state commissioners of education and other educational leaders, on how to effectively scale up high-quality social-emotional and character development (SECD) in all schools. First, we define SECD, social-emotional learning (SEL), and related competencies, identify effective approaches to developing these competencies through universal school-based programming, and summarize the known individual, social, and economic benefits of systematic efforts to promote these competencies in schools. Next, we review the current state of US education policy with regard to SEL and SECD, including the scope of program implementation, state standards, preservice and in-service teacher development, evaluation and assessment, and funding. We end the chapter with a set of policy recommendations on how to leverage existing strengths and build further capacity for making SECD an integral and seamless component of the education system.
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