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Mainstreaming Innovations in Social and Emotional Learning in MENAT

Practitioners, policymakers and researchers meet for regional workshop in Jordan 

Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

Carly Sikina | 26.02.2018

Social and emotional skills are critical for children to learn. While promoting happiness and wellbeing, these abilities can also help individuals manage their emotions, work with others and achieve their goals. Although these “soft” skills are essential, they are often overlooked by policymakers within different educational systems in favor of “hard” skills like literacy and numeracy, which are often consider easier to teach and measure.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) can be taught, improved and measured using many approaches and technologies. Teaching these skills in schools can raise student wellbeing while improving learning outcomes, employability prospects, and social cohesion.

Following on from Salzburg Global Seminar’s 2016 session, Getting Smart: Measuring and Evaluating Social and Emotional Skills, part of the multi-year series Education for Tomorrow’s World, Salzburg Global is co-hosting a regional workshop in Jordan to further examine SEL within a regional context.

Mainstreaming Innovations in Social and Emotional Learning in MENAT (Middle East, North Africa and Turkey) will take place at the Crowne Plaza Dead Sea Resort from February 26 to 28, 2018.

Both Salzburg Global and the British Council are working in partnership with ETS to bring together policymakers, practitioners, and researchers from 15 countries to develop and enhance SEL understanding and practice across the MENAT region.

Participants will explore several questions during the session, including: why are social and emotional skills important at this point in time? How can SEL be developed in formal and informal education in MENAT? What does current SEL practice look like? What SEL training will teachers and other educators need? How can we create better collaboration and learning across the formal and informal sectors?

This workshop combines various presentations, cross-sectoral conversations, panel discussions and small group work to develop new SEL perspectives and learning opportunities. It combines theory, policy, and practice to explore SEL processes to stimulate educational reform and policy change.

To create effective change within the educational sphere, participants will develop a Salzburg Statement, recommending policies and initiatives to integrate SEL practices across formal and non-formal sectors. An impact report will subsequently be published, which will summarize the discussions and results of the workshop.

Mainstreaming Innovations in Social and Emotional Learning in MENAT is the second regional workshop in this series, following a similar event that took place in Santiago, Chile in November 2017. The third workshop will be hosted in Princeton, the USA from June 6 to 8, 2018.

The recommendations for policymakers from each workshop will be explored further during a “global synthesis” session, Mainstreaming Innovations from Social and Emotional Learning Around the World, which will take place in Salzburg, Austria, later this year from December 3 to 8, 2018.

Dominic Regester, program director at Salzburg Global Seminar, said, "Social and emotional skills have never been more necessary. These skills help people manage their emotions, get along and work with others and achieve their goals. They improve employability prospects, they are proven to improve learning outcomes and academic achievement, and they are essential for the health and well-being of children and adults. All of this is true in the MENAT region. 

"This workshop is exciting and timely as it provides a platform for expert educators from both the formal and informal education sectors in the region to exchange ideas, insights, and examples of practice with a view to developing a shared understanding of the importance of social and emotional learning and strategies for achieving it."

Salzburg Global’s Education for Tomorrow’s World multi-year series focuses on strategies, innovations and institutional changes that must be made to benefit future learners. It identifies systemic blockages to learning and develops ideas and policies to improve educational systems. The outcomes connect to Salzburg Global’s health, urban as well as early childhood programs and are supported by various partnerships in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The British Council’s Connecting Classrooms program is developing the skills of teachers and school leaders around the world.

Mainstreaming Innovations in Social and Emotional Learning in MENAT is the second regional workshop designed to examine social and emotional skills learning from different geographic perspectives. It was developed following the Salzburg Global program, Getting Smart: Measuring and Evaluating Social and Emotional Skills. This workshop is held in partnership with the British Council and ETS. Information on the workshop is available here. If you want to follow the conversation on Twitter, search for #SGSedu and #mainstreamingSEL. You can learn more about the series by visiting education.salzburgglobal.org 

Carly Sikina