University of Malta
 

Volume 9, Issue 2, November 2017
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Special issue: Social and Emotional Learning and Diversity

Guest Editors: Dr. Therese Skoog & Dr. Birgitta Kimber

 

Editorial [PDF]


1) Cultural Perspective on Parenting, Trait Emotional Intelligence and Mental Health in Taiwanese Children

Ching-Yu Huang, April Chiung-Tao Shen, Yi-Ping Hsieh, Jui-Ying Feng, Hsi-Sheng Wei, Hsiao-Lin Hwa and Joyce Yen Feng  pp. 4 - 16

The current study aims to clarify the associations as well as the pathways through which parenting and children's emotional intelligence (EI) may influence children's mental health with a cross-sectional sample of 675 school pupils (fourth grade, mean age = 10.4 years, 310 boy, 356 girls and 9 unidentified) in Taiwan. Hierarchical regression and path analyses were used to examine the relationships between parenting styles, children's trait EI, and their psychological symptoms, with children's psychological symptoms as the dependent variable. The results showed that authoritative parenting was positively associated with children’s trait EI, which in turn had a negative effect on children’s psychological symptoms, whereas authoritarian and Chinese-specific parenting styles had direct negative effect on children’s psychological symptoms. These findings shed light on the pathways of the interrelations between different parenting styles, children's trait EI, and psychological symptoms, providing theoretical as well as practical implications for children's emotional development and mental health.

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2) Emotional and meta-emotional intelligence as predictors of adjustment problems in students with Specific Learning Disorders

Antonella D’Amico and Teresa Guastaferro       pp. 17 - 30

The purpose of this study was to analyse adjustment problems in a group of adolescents with a Specific Learning Disorder (SLD), examining to what extent they depend on the severity level of the learning disorder and/or on the individual’s level of emotional intelligence. Adjustment problems,, perceived severity levels of SLD, and emotional and meta-emotional intelligence were examined in 34 adolescents with SLD. Results demonstrated that emotional beliefs, emotional self-concept and emotional intelligence are very important factors in  the psychological adjustment of adolescents with SLD. These results provide evidence for the importance of considering meta-emotional intelligence in both diagnostic and intervention protocols, as well as in the inclusive education of students with SLD.

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3) Resilience in Preschool Children - The Perspectives of Teachers, Parents and Children

Renata Miljević-Riđički, Krešimir Plantak and Dejana Bouillet                 pp. 31 - 43

The aim of this paper is to explore how parents, teachers and children in early years’ education understand the concept of resilience. The paper analyses the understanding of the concept of resilience in a Croatian kindergarten using qualitative and quantitative research methods. The qualitative research consists of a thematic analysis of data collected through 3 focus groups with 10 parents, 9 teachers and 11 children respectively. The quantitative research includes an analysis of data collected through the Scale of Socio-emotional Wellbeing and Resilience in Preschool Children which teachers and parents completed to assess the resilience of 116 children from a public kindergarten in a city of northern Croatia. The qualitative data indicates that parents and teachers have a different understanding of the resilience concept, while the quantitative data shows that parents, in comparison with teachers, assess all aspects of children’s resilience more positively.

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4) Social Perception Training: Improving social competence by reducing cognitive distortions    

Johannes N. Finne and Frode Svartdal                                                    pp. 44 - 58

Social Perception Training (SPT) is a program focused on changing the perceptual and cognitive processes involved in suboptimal social interactions. It is administered with whole class of pupils over ten weeks. No previous studies have evaluated its efficacy. The present study investigated the outcome benefit of the program in 18 primary and secondary classes in a Norwegian municipality (aggregated N = 332), using multi-informant instruments administered in a pre-post research design. Pupils reported on cognitive distortions and the learning environment, parents on social skills and problem behaviour, and teachers on classroom performance. Results indicate overall positive differences, especially for pupils’ cognitive distortions. Increased social skills and reduced problem behaviours were also reported, as well as improved peer relations and perceived emotional support from teachers. Overall SPT appears to be a promising and cost-effective intervention program.

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5) The ASPIRE Principles and Pedagogy for the Implementation of Social and Emotional Learning and the Development of Whole School Well-Being

Sue Roffey            pp. 59 - 71

Implementation is the process by which interventions are put into practice and is critical to outcomes. Issues related to implementation for social and emotional learning (SEL) have largely focused on fidelity to the programme, dosage, clarity of guidance and the characteristics of the facilitator, although attention has also been paid to multi-level factors within an ecological system. The primary emphasis, however, has been on ‘what’ should happen, rather than ‘how’. Both content and process matter for both access and addressing difference. This paper details the ASPIRE principles and pedagogy for SEL and shows how incorporating these may help address diversity across needs and cultures. ASPIRE is the acronym for Agency, Safety, Positivity, Inclusion, Respect and Equity. These principles apply not only to the classroom but to relational well-being at all levels of the system and as such are aspirational. Many are based in the positive psychology literature, and are applicable to both individualistic and collectivist cultures as the intention is not to impose a set of values and behaviours but to structure activities that enable young people to explore what works for themselves and their communities. They have been put into practice within the Circle Solutions framework for SEL across Australia with both Aboriginal and Anglo communities and further afield in the UK, South-East Asia and Africa.

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6) Students’ emotional and behavioral difficulties: the role of teachers’ social and emotional learning and teacher-student relationships    

Maria S. Poulou                     pp. 72 - 89

This study investigates how teachers’ perceptions of Emotional Intelligence (EI), Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills, and teacher-student relationships relate to students’ emotional and behavioral difficulties.  We examined teachers and students’ perceptions of students’ emotional and behavioral difficulties and the degree of agreement between them. Ninety-eight elementary teachers from state schools in central Greece completed the Self-Rated Emotional Intelligence Scale (SREIS), the Teacher SEL Beliefs Scale, the Student-Teacher Relationships Scale - Short Form (STRS-SF), and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ, teacher version) for 617 students, aged between 6 and 11 years. Three hundred and eight 11 year old students completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ, student version). Regression analysis revealed that teachers’ perceptions of EI and SEL skills were not related to students’ emotional and behavioral difficulties, while teacher-student conflictual relationships were mainly linked to these difficulties. This finding was common both to teachers and students’ perceptions. We found low agreement between teachers and students’ perceptions of these difficulties. We discuss these findings and their implications for research and practice.

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7) Discussion Paper 1: Does diversity in society inevitably lead to a rise in xenophobia among children and young people?  

Helen Cowie, Carrie-Anne Myers and Rashid Aziz                    pp. 90 - 99

Across Europe, and in the context of a post-BREXIT situation, society is having to accommodate to large numbers of people from diverse cultures. There is a reported increase in xenophobic incidents, bullying and social exclusion, indicating that diversity runs the risk of intolerance and prejudice. This is played out in all manner of social situations in schools and universities, in the community and in the workplace. This discussion paper, written by three U.K. Social Scientists representing the disciplines of psychology, criminology, education and sociology, focuses on the legal and moral aspects of the issue as well as on interventions that promote tolerance and xenophilia in a range of social contexts.  It concludes with recommendations to social scientists in all European countries to enter the debate and carry out research in this challenging and highly topical field. 

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8) Discussion Paper 2: Social and emotional learning for children with Learning Disability: Implications for inclusion

Valeria Cavioni, Ilaria Grazzani and Veronica Ornaghi                      pp. 100 - 109

This paper discusses the key role of social and emotional learning programmes for children with Learning Disability (LD). The first part of the paper discusses the difficulties students with learning disability may encounter in their education, such as issues related to peer group acceptance, friendship and social isolation, low self-efficacy and self-esteem, and externalized and internalized behavior problems. The relationship between social and emotional learning programmes and learning disability is then discussed, underlining the benefits of social and emotional learning for students with LD. The paper concludes by highlighting the need for universal social and emotional learning as a vehicle for the academic and social inclusion of students with LD. 

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8) Short Research Report: Preventing depression in adolescence through social and emotional learning.

Hannelore Reicher and Marlies Matischek-Jauk                      pp. 110 - 115

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Book Reviews [PDF] 

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