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Social and emotional learning and prosocial education: Theory, research, and programs.

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... Although Lawrence Kohlberg's persuasive argument that long-term development should be the aim of education has not taken hold in the United States, it could be argued that two 10 aspects partially representative of Kohlberg's vision for schools have become popular: one, recognition of the need for some kind of prosocial education; and two, that such interventions create positive school climates. It is considered good practice and more valid to create such intervention programs to promote character (e.g.,Vincent & Grove, 2012) or social emotional learning (e.g.,Payton, Weissberg, Durlak, Dymnicki, Taylor, Schellinger, et al. 2008), contemplative education and mindfulness (e.g.,Schonert-Reichl, 2012), for specific ages of students—elementary, middle school, or high school students. This leaves open questions about how these different programs and approaches articulate and reticulate across grades and schools. ...
... Recent reviews of effective school discipline demonstrate the need to target family, peer, and community processes as they relate to schools, setting the conditions for the fairness of school into a multileveled context (Gregory & Cornell, 2009;Osher, Bear, Sprague, & Doyle, 2010;Swearer, Espelage, Vallancourt, & Hymel, 2010). Research regarding the second direct condition of role-taking is less evident, often buried in specific results of educational interventions, especially those in character education (Vincent, 2012) and social-emotional learning (Schonert-Reichl, 2012;Weissburg, Payton, O'Brien, & Munro, 2007). In other research examining student preferences for teacher roles and qualities, 14 role-taking may plausibly be inferred. ...
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Traducción de: Lawrence Kohlberg's approach to moral education Incluye bibliografía e índice
... By generating a warm atmosphere among students, a spirit of caring is created in the classroom [59]. Our findings (Figure 2) suggest that the generation of such an atmosphere in class might also result in greater concern for the environment among students. ...
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Although both altruistic and ecological behaviors can be considered prosocially driven behaviors, our psychological understanding of what motivates action in either the human or ecological domains is still in its infancy. We aimed to assess connection to nature and connection to humans as mediators of the relationship between prosocial propensity and prosocial behaviors in both the ecological and human domains. This study used empathy as an indicator of an individual’s prosocial propensity. The data for the study was collected through surveys in Russian (841 participants) and Spanish (418 participants). The study demonstrated that an individual’s prosocial propensity can be actioned into ecological (nature-related) behavior through connection to nature. Similarly, an individual’s prosocial propensity can be actioned into altruistic (human-related) behavior through connection to humans. However, the present study also demonstrates that an individual’s prosocial propensity can be directed to humans through a connection to nature. Thus, altruistic and ecological behaviors are two related classes of behavior, driven by the same prosocial propensity of the individual. This study is an important step towards generating scientific support for the claim that traditionally separate teaching of prosocial and environmental subjects should be combined into a single educational approach. An integrated approach will contribute to a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary effort to create a society that is both ecologically and socially sustainable.
... This study is an important step towards generating scientific proof for the claim that educating people to be concerned for others to the same extent as they are concerned for themselves not only is an important step toward creating a prosocial society, but also contributes to people's environmental awareness. Building on the work of Schonert-Reichl and O'Brien [51], who reviewed several social-emotional learning programs and empirically showed their effectiveness, demonstrating that it is possible to promote prosocial behavior by creating a prosocial classroom environment that emphasizes caring for others, mutual respect and cooperation, our findings may indeed imply that the traditional emphasis of environmental education on protecting and/or preserving the environment can be reinforced with cooperative and collaborative educational practices that aim at cultivating a better ecological environment among students. We suggest that prosocial education can reinforce environmental socialization [24] which links informal experiences with nature and like-minded people to value the outdoors, nature, and environmental topics. ...
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Environmental education programs neglect the aspect of prosocial behavior as a correlate of pro-environmental behavior. This article examines the possible benefits of increasing the emphasis on prosocial behavior as a way to reinforce environmental education. In our study, prosocial behavior was positively related to pro-environmental behavior (r = 0.34, p < 0.001), and even a combined scale consisting of prosocial and pro-environmental behavior items showed an acceptable reliability (separation reliability = 0.82, at the level of the separated scales), which implies that prosocial and pro-environmental behaviors are a similar class of behavior. We can assume that the two underlying propensities (prosocial behavior and pro-environmentalism) are probably only two facets of an overarching common propensity that supports both kinds of behavior. Therefore, promoting one facet will, through its relationship with the other facet, also foster the respective other facet. Even more so, it might be most effective to relate to both propensities equally.
... Meta-analytic reviews of this research show that children and adolescents who participate in SEL programs improve their social and emotional skills; attitudes about self, others, and schools; and prosocial behavior, thereby enjoying greater psychological well-being and academic performance (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger, 2011; Sklad, Diekstra, Ritter, Ben, & Gravesteijn, 2012). SEL intervention strategies evolved over time ( Jones & Bouffard, 2012; Schonert-Reichl & O'Brien, 2012; Weissberg et al., 2015). SEL has been embedded in schools in a number of forms: as part of a structured curriculum where lessons are taught during time set aside within the school day, as part of a schoolwide approach in which SEL principles are integrated into the fabric of school life, and through after-school and out-of-school opportunities such as service learning or internships for older students (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning [CASEL], 2013[CASEL], , 2015 ). ...
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This chapter summarizes the results of nearly 100 years of research on school-based social and emotional learning (SEL). The SEL field has grown out of research in many fields and subfields with which educators, researchers, and policymakers are familiar, including the promotion of social competence, bullying prevention, prevention of drug use and abuse, civic and character education, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, social skills training, and 21st-century skills. The chapter begins with a historical summary of theoretical movements and research trends that have led to today’s inclusion of SEL as part of many schools’ curricula, policies, and practices. Contemporary approaches that represent current policy and societal concerns are discussed in comparative terms. Based on the converging research evidence, this chapter identifies design elements and implementation quality characteristics of effective approaches to SEL. Recommendations for future practice, policy, and research are provided.
... ASPECTS OF MORAL EDUCATION IN CURRENT VOGUE: PROSOCIAL EDUCATION AND SCHOOL CLIMATE Although Lawrence Kohlberg's persuasive argument that long-term development should be the aim of education has not taken hold in the United States, it could be argued that two aspects partially representative of Kohlberg's vision for schools have become popular: One, recognition of the need for some kind of prosocial education; and two, that such interventions create positive school climates. It is considered good practice and more valid to create such intervention programs to promote character (e.g., Vincent & Grove, 2012) or social emotional learning (e.g., Payton, Weissberg, Durlak, Dymnicki, Taylor, Schellinger, et al. 2008), contemplative education and mindfulness (e.g., Schonert-Reichl, 2012), for specific ages of students—elementary, middle school, or high school students. This leaves open questions about how these different programs and approaches articulate and reticulate across grades and schools. ...
Book
“I could easily say, what a timely book, but the truth is that Kohlberg is for the ages, which means any time is worthwhile to revisit his work. So, in that sense, let us ask, what aspects of his work in Moral Development and Moral Education are timely today? One answer can be found in the Kohlberg Lounge on the sixth floor of Larsen Hall, which I have the privilege to visit every day. Placed there in 1987, a plaque in his honor states: In memory of Lawrence Kohlberg: In this room where ideas are born through discussion and tested through debate Let us listen and speak with the same respect that he gave to all In 2015, the emphasis on discussion and debate has reached beyond moral development to all aspects of pedagogy, from literacy to history education and beyond. And, in an era of fast and slow thinking, this book reminds us that ethical reflection, self-awareness, and a social conscience are the three malleable developmental skills that allow us all to be truly human. Kohlberg then, Kohlberg now, Kohlberg forever.” - Robert L. Selman, Harvard University (Roy Edward Larsen Professor of Education and Human Development, Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry) “This book about one of the giants of psychology is very timely. There is a whole generation of students and scholars that is growing up with a knowledge about moral development without learning about the roots of the field. This is not a matter of nostalgia or ‘attributional justice, ’ but one of missing out on a fountain of knowledge and insight that has not been surpassed in its depth and breadth. This book should become required reading for students in the social sciences that should begin to ask the questions that would require their teachers to ‘read up.’” - Gil Noam, Harvard Medical School (Founder and Director of the Program in Education, Afterschool & Resiliency (PEAR)) “Kohlberg’s theory of moral developmental might be more relevant today than ever, given increasing worries about the fragmentation and declining solidarity in modern Western society. But does the theory hold up in light of old criticisms and new questions and methods? The chapters, by leading scholars in the field of moral development, introduce new generations of moral psychologists, philosophers, and educators to Kohlberg’s work, by addressing strengths and weaknesses and suggesting ways to move forward. A must read for anyone interested in moral education.” - Jan Boom, Utrecht University (Chair of the Kuhmerker Dissertation Award Committee).
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Prosocial behavior consists of a set of behaviors that are beneficial to others in the form of sharing and helping. It includes aspects such as solidarity and friendship, and it fosters development and positive psychological functioning; it also improves classroom and school climate. Interactive learning environments may play a crucial role in creating affordances for students to develop prosocial behavior. This study analyzes the impact of two educational interventions based on egalitarian dialogue (Dialogic Literary Gathering and Interactive Groups) on prosocial behavior among fourth grade elementary students. A quasi-experimental design has been carried out, in which measurements have been taken before and after the intervention. Results show that students involved in the Dialogic Literary Gatherings increased significantly their level of prosocial behavior more than those in the control groups. However, no significant differences have been found between students in the experimental and control condition, when considering Interactive Groups. These results have important educational implications for creating conducive learning environments for the development of prosocial behavior.
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The concept of sustainable development includes three interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars: economic development, social development and environmental protection [1]. Below, we provide arguments that proenvironmentalism and prosociality are components of a broader behavior, named “sustainable behavior”. We thus suggest that traditional emphasis of environmental education on protecting and/or preserving the environment may be reinforced with prosocial education. Such a combined educational approach can promote sustainable behavior, contributing to multi- and inter-disciplinary efforts to create an ecologically, socially and perhaps even economically sustainable society. Proenvironmental behavior is defined as actions which contribute towards environmental preservation and/or conservation [2]. In turn, prosocial behavior is defined as voluntary behavior intended to benefit others or promote harmonious relationship with others [3], [4]. Previous studies demonstrate correlations between proenvironmental and prosocial behavior [5], [7]. For example, Joireman et al. [8] found an association between prosociality and the use of public transport, which has a lower impact on the environment, in comparison to the use of individual motorized transport. Furthermore, [5] and [6] empirically demonstrated that prosociality and proenvironmentalism are components of a broader behavior, which they called “sustainable behavior” since it includes actions aimed at protecting both the natural and the human (social) environments. With regards to the environmental aspects of sustainability, some authors suggest that “environmental problems” are actually problems of human behavior [9]. The first definition of environmental education [10] emphasized the importance of educating the general public about taking action to solve environmental problems. Based on the in-depth analysis of [11], the main emphasis of environmental education is limited to the protection and/or preservation of the environment, while education for sustainable development (or sustainability education) is usually defined as a tool for achieving sustainable development [12]. Prosocial education aims at educating people to share with acquaintances and strangers, to make friends, to work cooperatively, and to develop a sense of self as a moral person [13]. The term “prosocial education” is actually an umbrella concept since it conceptually overlaps with other terms, such as soft-skills development, social-emotional learning, whole child education, service learning, civic education, character education and moral education [2]. Schonert-Reichl & O’Brien [14] reviewed several social-emotional learning programs that have empirical evidence to support their effectiveness, demonstrating that it is possible to promote prosocial behavior through creating a prosocial classroom environment, which emphasizes caring for others, mutual respect and cooperation. Prosocial education could help to gradually bridge this gap of “otherness,” with the aim of helping students overcome alienation, emerging from oneself towards the other by learning to be concerned for the other as we are concerned for ourselves [15]. Since on the individual level prosocial and proenvironmental behaviors are parts of the same behavior, prosocial and environmental educational approaches can reinforce each other. Thus, we suggest that the traditional emphasis of environmental education on protecting and/or preserving the environment could be reinforced with prosocial education. Such a combined educational approach would promote sustainable behavior, contributing to multi- and inter-disciplinary efforts to create an ecologically and socially sustainable society. With regard to the economic aspect of sustainable development, some leading economists [16], [17] claim that the current economic system requires the installation of a more social aspect in order to manage today’s interconnected reality. To prevent the enormous damage that is caused to the community as a whole by behavior triggered by fierce economic competition [18], there is a need to react educationally. One possible reaction may be to promote prosocial educational approaches that aim to increase our sense of responsibility towards others. Since the economy is considered a reflection of our relationships [19], the economy might perhaps adjust itself if we change our perception of others and our sensitivity toward others by promoting prosocial educational approaches. One of the biggest paradoxes of contemporary reality is that on the one hand, people, corporations and nations are being increasingly tied together in complex global networks, but on the other, human interactions within these networks are becoming more fragmented, alienated and in many cases motivated by self or local interest [19]. Perhaps the collision between these two opposite tendencies is one of the main reasons for the escalation of the financial crisis worldwide. As the contradiction between our interconnectedness and the nature of human interactions widens – so widens the crisis [20]. In summary, prosocial education could not only reinforce environmental education but also contribute significantly to financial and economic sustainability, by cultivating in students a more socially oriented attitude to the world. This in turn can result in sustainable behavior in local and global social networks [21], [22]. Such an approach is aligned with the proposals of UNESCO [23] that promote the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, stressing that education must provide specific skills, such as learning to live together.
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A school is not just a center for the production of learning. At its best, it is a place with which people identify, a place to which they become attached… in which educators break down curriculum boundaries to work collaboratively, planning and teaching with creativity and with the steady purpose of producing better adults-caring, competent people who will live deeply satisfying lives and contribute to an evolving democratic society.
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