Mapping Out SEL and Facilitating Conversations at Salzburg Global Seminar




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Mar 13, 2019
by Lucy Browett
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Mapping Out SEL and Facilitating Conversations at Salzburg Global Seminar

Monika Kochowicz discusses her work and the conversations she has had in Salzburg Monika Kochowicz at Salzburg Global Seminar

After three days of productive talks at the Salzburg Global Seminar program, Social and Emotional Learning: Time for Action, participants have had the opportunity to exchange knowledge and learn about different countries’ approaches to social and emotional learning (SEL), and they have now begun to discuss next steps.

During the five-day program at Schloss Leopoldskron, participants have engaged in panel discussions, knowledge exchanges, and even a film screening to explore SEL in both research and practice contexts, as well as from global and local perspectives.

Participants range from academics and researchers to policymakers and educators, providing a breadth of knowledge and experience in varying forms and contexts of SEL.

One of the participants embracing the varying formats of the program and the multitude of conversation opportunities is Monika Kochowicz, who collaborates with the Norwegian Red Cross and the No Hate Speech campaign as a workshop facilitator and educator, specializing in conflict resolution and non-violent communication.

This affinity towards non-formal learning methodology began through her own studies. She said, “For my thesis, I was looking into Polish migrant youth experiences of intercultural learning and different learning settings.

“Then since, I [have] felt so very passionate about non-formal education, and I thought this is a great way of creating safe spaces for people to learn and reflect.”

Kochowicz took this passion and began her work with the Norwegian Red Cross, where she became a workshop facilitator. To her, the role has strong SEL roots. She said, “I would say that the components that would align with SEL would be to give [the students she works with] tools, learning how to communicate and how to voice their needs and emotions.”

Through her experience with the No Hate Speech campaign, as well as through the Norwegian Red Cross, Kochowicz often works with young refugees.

Kochowicz said, “I also work with human rights education and mainly concentrating on online hate speech. This is again facilitating conversations and group processes with youth between 15 and 25 years old.

“It’s migrant youth… and I feel it’s immensely important for them to just create those safe spaces for them to get to talk about their experience to just give them the feeling that they can be heard and seen.”

On Monday afternoon, participants attended the Knowledge Café, where they spent around 25 minutes at each table discussion, exploring SEL concepts led by a facilitator at each station. “I really like that format because you get to travel,” said Kochowicz. “It was mapping what different people work with.”

“There’s been a few different approaches to applying SEL, different perspectives. Some of which is in conflict areas. People [are] going into those places of trauma and working with people whose needs really have to be taken into consideration before doing any work… And it sounded like their needs are being taken into account.”

On Wednesday, participants will gather into working groups to further explore the concepts and ideas discussed throughout the week and make action plans.

Kochowicz stated, “I feel like I’ve been learning so much already.”

Looking ahead to these working groups, she added, “I would want to gain more input on how can we work with both the youth practitioners and teachers and youth workers.”

Reflecting on her own experiences that she would be able to bring to the table, Kochowicz said, “I would like to concentrate on all the simplicity of action, which is teaching people how to communicate how to talk about their needs and emotions.”

The conversation continues.

The program Social and Emotional Learning: Time for Action is part of Salzburg Global’s long-running multi-year series Education for Tomorrow’s World. The program is held in partnership with ETS, Microsoft, Porticus, Qatar Foundation International and USAID’s Education in Crisis and Conflict Network.