SEL (Socio-emotional Learning) is an acronym that indicates the socio-emotional learning or the learning of those skills and abilities that, according to several authors (e.g. Payton et al., 2008; Durlak et al., 2011) allow individuals to recognize and manage their emotions, deal successfully with conflicts, face and solve interpersonal problems, understand and show empathy towards others, establish and maintain positive relationships, establish and achieve positive goals.
Is it possible to develop these skills with online education as well?
The Covid-19 pandemic has halted educational and training activities for many months around the world. The shift from face-to-face to online education has certainly produced an acceleration of the digital transformation that is a requirement of the 21st century, but it has also revealed that teachers are not well prepared for digital teaching. The results of a SchoolEducationGatewaysurvey of 4859 respondents from more than 40 countries (86% of whom were teachers or school leaders) show that as a result of COVID-19, most teachers (66.9%) had to teach online for the first time. It is very relevant that the prevailing concern of the teaching staff who participated in the research is motivation to learn (76.1%), management of emotions (61.8%) and self-management of the learning process (60.9%). The online teaching system should be accompanied by the personal development skills needed to best manage: interpersonal communication processes, empathy, creative thinking, etc. Teachers with high literacy of social and emotional skills and equipped with digital skills are more likely to be able to help students both socially, emotionally and digitally.
The overall aim of the project is to improve the skills of primary school teachers in the area of social and emotional development within digitisation through the development of courses aimed at:
Improving student learning skills in primary schools - the module includes an analysis of the differences that are observed between generations, how these differences affect teaching and learning, what kind of skills the contemporary era requires from students;
effective classroom management and interpersonal communication processes - the module covers approaches to classroom management, interpersonal communication - between teacher and student, between student and student - and group processes in classroom communication, including assertiveness, negotiation and leadership skills;
developing students' empathy and behavioural skills - the module aims to understand how to develop students' empathy skills, how to teach students to address barriers to empathy, how to help them improve their communication skills with peers and develop more positive relationships;
the development of creative thinking and problem-solving skills - the module focuses on how teachers can promote students' skills needed for problem-solving, including analytical thinking, creativity, responsible decision-making and innovation in teaching and learning from the early years onwards);
using online methods, techniques and tools in primary schools - the module focuses on how to support teachers in transferring and transforming their pedagogical knowledge, skills and expertise into digital teaching and learning platforms, making use of a social-emotional approach.
The DigiSEL project is coordinated by Kütahya Dumlupınar University, Turkey, and involves other universities from Italy, Poland and Spain: