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Mar 06, 2018
by Oscar Tollast
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Fellows Develop Salzburg Statement on Social and Emotional Learning in MENAT region

Three-day program in Amman, Jordan, brings together participants from 15 countries Sixty-five participants from 15 countries explored several topics during Mainstreaming Innovations in Social and Emotional Learning in MENAT

A workshop convened by Salzburg Global Seminar, the British Council, and ETS, has helped enhance social and emotional learning (SEL) understanding across the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey.

Mainstreaming Innovations in Social and Emotional Learning in MENAT (the Middle East and North Africa) recently brought together policymakers, practitioners, and researchers from 15 countries to Jordan to examine the topic in greater detail.

Sixty-five participants from 15 countries explored several topics during the three-day program, with a particular focus on the intersections between SEL and teacher/educator preparation, SEL and curriculum design and SEL and measurement and assessment. Their discussions looked at the challenges around measurement and assessment of SEL and how they could act together toward mainstreaming the process.

The program provided a necessary space for participants to interact and share their experiences, bringing together actors from formal and informal settings. Participants came from the public sector, international organizations, the NGO sector, K-12 agencies, and universities.

Presentations, cross-sectoral conversations, panel discussions and group work were some of the methods used to inspire creative thinking among participants. After a knowledge exchange session, seven working groups were established to narrow down the talking points.

Working groups looked at issues relating to conceptual clarity, SEL assessment, teacher training, alliance building for change, and messaging for students, teachers, school leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders.

As the session came to a close, each group was asked to come up with a number of recommendations which could form the backbone of a new Salzburg Statement. This Statement, which is in the process of being drafted, will be used to bring this important issue to the attention of policymakers and will serve as an advocacy tool for people looking at education reform.

This meeting was part of an ongoing series looking at SEL around the world. The series has included the session in Salzburg, Getting Smart: Measuring and Evaluating Social and Emotional Skills, in 2016, and a meeting organised by partners in Santiago in November 2017. Series partner ETS will host the next meeting at their Princeton campus.

The knowledge gained at each workshop will be pooled together for a “global synthesis” session, Mainstreaming Innovations from Social and Emotional Learning Around the World will take place in Salzburg, Austria from December 2 to 7, 2018.

Dominic Regester, program director at Salzburg Global Seminar, said, "This meeting really highlighted two things: on the one hand, the breadth of SEL insight and understanding across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey and secondly the importance of creating opportunities for exchange between people working in education in emergency contexts and people working in more mainstream k-12 learning environments.

"There was really interesting exchange from both sides. One of the other things that is becoming clear as we develop this SEL series is that there are consistent challenges around the world with rolling out system-wide K-12 SEL programs. These include issues around teacher/educator preparation, curriculum design and issues around measurement and assessment. Finding workable, transferable solutions to these challenges needs to be a global education reform priority.”

Salzburg Global’s Education for Tomorrow’s World multi-year series shapes new approaches to learning, skills and inclusion for radically different societies. Topical programs and regional workshops address emerging challenges and opportunities for education, assessment and the future of work, generating strategic recommendations and practical projects to re-calibrate and reform current systems. 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