Social and Emotional Learning and its role in Collaborative Problem Solving

Social and Emotional Learning

  • Social and emotional abilities are emerging larger by demand in the job market with successful companies necessitating these skills alongside academic knowledge from apposite employees.
  • In today’s context, students spend qualitative and quantitative time in schools and schools play a significant role in imparting social and emotional learning to students. 
  • Good teaching and learning takes cognizance of the process of study, which includes group work and collaboration, while quality co-curricular and extra-curricular activities reinforce these skills in intangible ways but more effectively.

“How on earth do you wake up your son in the mornings?” This tweet was from my son’s teacher who accompanied him on an educational trip. The message bolstered my views on the key attributes of school trips, mainly Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).

Social and emotional abilities are emerging larger by demand in the job market with successful companies necessitating these skills alongside academic knowledge from apposite employees. In 1995 Daniel Goleman, the leading expert in the field of emotional intelligence, stated “IQ is only a minor predictor of success in life, while emotional and social skills are far better predictors of success and well-being than academic intelligence. Aristotle puts it succinctly: “the rare skill to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way.”

There exists an extent of fallacy that social and emotional skills are consequential to one’s upbringing. Whereas, the good news is, “emotional literacy” is not fixed early in life. Just like developing rational and thinking skills, these metacognitive skills which include higher-order thinking that enables understanding, analysis, and control of one’s cognitive processes, can be cultivated in children – in our homes, classrooms and institutions.

In today’s context, students spend qualitative and quantitative time in schools. Hence, schools play a significant role in imparting social and emotional learning to students.  Good teaching and learning takes cognizance of the process of study, which includes group work and collaboration. Quality co-curricular and extra-curricular activities reinforce these skills in intangible ways but more effectively.

This winning formula is well-integrated into Dubai’s education landscape, through the well-structured school inspections framework by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). School inspections in Dubai measure schools’ provision towards students’ personal and social development alongside attainment and progress in core subjects. Quality extra-curricular and co-curricular activities are catalytic to embedding self-awareness, moods management, developing team skills, empathy and self-motivation – which are outlined by Goleman as essential attributes to emotional intelligence. Certain that these five competencies power social and emotional learning, and gaging this provision in schools, the KHDA endorses a contented parent community in the region.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a global education body that administers international benchmarking assessments, has announced emphasis on parameters including social and emotional intelligence to measure students’ success criteria. It identifies Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) as a basic necessity and a critical skill in educational settings and the workforce. In conjunction, it is important to note that the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) used worldwide as an international benchmarking test will use CPS approach in its 2015 assessment. PISA assesses 15-year-old school pupils’ scholastic performance on mathematics, science, and on their reading skills. PISA results provide information about participating schools on two scales, at the national level and the global level. Benchmarking an individual school’s scores against national averages provides volumes of information on the impact of the curriculum offered at the school vis-à-vis the next level of preparation it extends to 15-year-old pupils. The national averages against the global averages perfunctorily highlights the quality of education framework in the country as against the best-achieving global counterparts.

Rightfully so, DSIB has stressed the need for private schools to work towards meeting international assessment benchmarks outlined this year by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, as part of his National Agenda. The targets call for the UAE to be among the 15 highest performing countries in Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study tests, and in the top 20 countries in Programme for International Student Assessment exams.

We are thus moving towards a system of learning, which emphasizes on the conglomeration of cognitive and metacognitive skills. Social and emotional learning apart from accruing to an individual’s success, given the momentum that the process garners contributes to the very fabric of a prosperous society.

Let us deem it necessary to advocate the fact, as rightly stated by David Caruso: ‘It is of the upmost importance to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, neither the triumph of heart over head nor the soul over the body, but the unique intersection of all three…”

The article is written by Fatima Martin for Arab Business Review

To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review

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