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What is ‘Social and Emotional Learning’ and from what age should it be developed?

Fellows give their answers on the "hot topic" of Day 1 of Getting Smart: Measuring and Evaluating Social and Emotional Skills

“It means developing the whole person: the cognitive and non-cognitive aspects of human development. I think we have to begin the learning process at birth. It begins when parents or guardians interact with young babies. It is the continuous quality of those interactions that develop people into human beings that are tolerant, that have a good work ethic and high-quality human interactions.” 
Michael T. Nettles
Senior Vice President, ETS, USA

“It means learning things like resilience and grit. It’s massive in the UK at the moment. People are trying to think about how we can make our students more resilient [toward] things when they get upset by something and that they are able to deal with it in the right way and have the support behind them. I think it should start from primary school. Those things develop at a quite young age so you need to be dealing with it earlier rather than later at university when it’s too much of a problem by that point that they haven’t had that support.” 
Eleanor Busby
Journalist, Times Educational Supplement, United Kingdom

“In my view, social and emotional skills have three core areas, or important dimensions, where social and emotional skills play an important role: the capacity to achieve goals; to work well with others; and to cope with emotional challenges. The sooner this development takes place the better, although some recent evidence suggests that sensitive periods are during early adolescence, not necessarily during early childhood – because this is a time when children’s social interactions change a lot.” 
Koji Miyamoto
Senior Economist, World Bank’s Education Global Practice, USA

“Social and emotional learning, to me, refers to the emotional resilience of a learner, and their ability to absorb and respond to different experiences throughout the learning process. I think it’s important throughout the developmental cycle, but especially around adolescence, when people start to become more independent. It’s important when what they encounter in their environment has to be reconciled personally, rather than in a protected space.” 
David Wilsey
Director of Masters Program in Sustainable Development Practice, University of Minnesota, USA

“For a long time in my country, teaching and learning has been focused on the academic, cognitive processes.  At Twaweza, we have been assessing reading, writing and numeracy competencies, but I think in order to really assess and nurture a child – a whole person – we need to go on beyond those traditional subjects. We need to nurture skills like confidence, resilience, and communication, skills people will need in their real life, social and emotional skills. I think the earlier this takes place the better, these skills should start being nurtured before school.” 
Mary Goretti Nakabugo
Senior Management Team, Twaweza East Africa, Uganda 

“The child should be emotionally stable and socially sensitive to other human beings around him or her. He or she should also have these skills in order to contribute as a productive citizen in society. SEL development, in fact, starts even before the child goes to school in the family itself, from the values family instill in the child. I think it should start as early as possible.” 
Sandeep Pandey
Vice-President, Socialist Party, India

Have an opinion? Tweet @SalzburgGlobal using the hashtag #SGSedu

05.12.2016 Category: SALZBURG IN THE WORLD, IMAGINATION, EDUCATION
Chris Hamill-Stewart & Yeji Park