ERG SES D 12, Social Aspects of Education
The research project is embedded in the work of the Research Centre for Experiential Education. The study is experiential in its approach. This means that the researcher makes a constant effort to understand the process of experiencing in children and teachers participating in the research, in other words to reconstruct their experience. The aim of the intervention study is to identify the active ingredients of learning environments in order to develop social competence in children.
The study will be conducted as an intervention research with the use of the educational set designed by the Research Centre for Experiential Education: ‘EMOscope’. In the research, it is assumed that applying the educational set ‘EMOscope’ in the primary school will contribute to the development of social competence in children.
In this research, social competence is understood in line with the Experiential Education approach. Social competence “refers to a differentiated awareness of one’s own feelings, motives and behaviour and to the ability to enter into peoples’ feelings, perceptions, thoughts and intentions (role taking capacity). It comprises the capacity to intuitively understand interactions, to predict and to anticipate behaviour, taking into account the social and cultural context and personal characteristics such as age, and personal traits. In addition to this, social competence requires a broad repertoire of ways to interact with others and the capacity to sense what the most adequate approach is in a certain situation” (Leavers, Free State Department of Education, 2007).
To map the relevant research variables, the experiential education frame will be used in which the context, the process and the effect are the main categories. At the level of process, there are two indicators capturing the quality of children’s experience: well-being and involvement (Laevers 1998a, p. 24). Both process variables are context-related and depend on the quality of teachers’ intervention, called a teacher style. In the experiential education approach, there are three dimensions of teacher interventions: stimulation, sensitivity and autonomy (Laevers, 2000, p. 6). The desired effect of so created learning environment will be social competence.
The research will bring answer to the following overall research question:
- What are active ingredients of learning environment that contribute to the development of social competence?
This question leads to formulate specific research questions:
- What is the impact of the implementation of the set of materials the ‘EMOscope’ on the development of social competence in primary school aged children?
- What is the relation between gender and age and the level of social competence?
- What is the relation between a way the intervention is implemented by teachers and its impact on the development of social competence?
- What is the relation between a way the intervention is implemented and children’s involvement?
- Is there a relation between child’s involvement during the implementation of the ‘EMOscope’ and the level of social competence?
- Does the implementation of the ‘EMOscope’ has an impact on the classroom climate?
Laevers, F. (2005a). Deep-level-learning and the Experiential Approach in Early Childhood and Primary Education. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven: Research Centre for Early Childhood and Primary Education. Laevers, F. ed. (2012). EMOscope. A case and manual. CEGO-Publishers Laevers, F. (2000). Forward to Basics! Deep-Level-Learning and the Experimental Approach. An international Journal of Research and Development, Vol. 20, No. 2. Laevers, F. (1994). The Innovative Project Experiential Education. Leuven: Centre for Experiential Education Laevers, F. (1998a). The quality of Early Childhood Education. What we can learn from practice research in Flanders. English translation of: Laevers, F., Qualiät frühkindlicher Erziehung: Was wir von Praxis lernen können. In: Fthenakis, W.E. & M. Textor (1998). Qualiät von Kinderbetreuung. Konzepte, Forschungsergebnisse, internationaler Vergleich. Weinheim/Basel: Betz Verlag. Laevers, F. (1998b). Understanding the world of objects and of people: Intuition as the core element of deep level learning. International Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 29. Laevers, F., Free State Department of Education (2007). Policy document. Pre-grade R curriculum (as developed by the ECD Free State Flemish funded project). Bloemfontein: Free State Department of Education. Laevers, F., Heylen L. (2008). How a new era for a science of learning and education has commenced. Reflections on the Position paper ‘Towards a new, complexity science of learning and education. Educational Research Review. Rose-Krasnor, L. (1997). The nature of social competence: A theoretical review. Social Development, Vol. 6, No. 1. Saarni, C. (1999). The Development of Emotional Competence. New York, London: The Guilford Press. Wigelsworth, M., Humphrey, N., Kalambouka, A., Lendrum, A. (2010). A review of key issues in the measurement of children’s social and emotional skills. Educational Psychology in Practice, Vol. 26, No. 2. Wigelsworth , M., ., Humphrey, N., Kalambouka, A., Lendrum, A., Lennie, C., Farrell, P. (2010). New Beginings: evaluation of a short social-emotional intervention for primary-aged children. Educational Psychology: An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology. Instruments developed by CEGO-Publishers: Laevers F. (2005b). The Group Climate Scale. Laevers F. (2005c). The Adult Style Observation Schedule (ASOS). Laevers F., Declercq, B., Jackamn, S. (2010). Observing Involvement. The Primary Phase. A video-learning pack.
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