02 SES 02 A, Career Choice and Transitions from School to VET
Adolescence is a challenging developmental period for young people to become independent of their parents and to make important choices for future education and work. Psychosocial problems, e.g. violence, depression and anxiety can also increase or emerge during adolescence. Social and emotional skills or life skills, are supposed to support young people to increase psychosocial health (Durlak et al 2011; Sklad et al, 2012). These skills are related to success in school, life and work.
Social and emotional skills are important for future employees who are expected to be flexible and who are able to adapt continually to changes in jobs as this is the reality of today’s working life. This is important for all jobs, including those at the bottom of the labour market. It is the task of education to contribute to raising motivated, engaged and responsible future employees by enhancing SEL skills that matter (OECD, 2015).
Schools are seen as a natural setting for teaching and learning social and emotional skills and for promoting students’ healthy social and emotional development. The schools provide students with programs to enhance social and emotional skills. Those programs show positive effects on psychosocial health (Durlak et al, 2011; Sklad et al, 2012).
Social and emotional skills are defined in various ways. We used the multivariate construct of the five social and emotional learning (SEL) skills of the CASEL group (Zins and Elias, 2007) 1. Self-awareness: the identification and recognition of emotions and strengths and a sense of self-efficacy and self-confidence; 2. Social-awareness: showing empathy, and respect for others, and be able to take different perspectives; 3. Self-management: being able to control impulse, manage stress, stay motivated and show persistence in goal setting and achieving; 4. Relationship skills, being able to cooperate and communicate with others and to seek and provide help when needed; 5. (Responsible) decision-making: the evaluation, reflection, and taking personal and ethical responsibility for personal behaviour and social interactions. The construct of the SEL skills is often referred to in the last decade as being essential for the development of psychosocial behaviour in youth. The SEL skills are supposed to overlap. A lack of insight exists in the correlation between SEL skills and between SEL skills and psychosocial health. And there is also limited knowledge about the mediating functions of SEL skills (Durlak et al, 2011).
In order to tailor school programs to those skills that are the most important to address in relation to psychosocial health, we are interested in the extent to which SEL skills are associated mutually and to what extent the skills are associated to psychosocial outcomes.
The following two research questions were formulated:
- To what extent are the SEL skills, separately and together, related to psychosocial health?
- To what extent do one or more SEL skills mediate the relationship between other SEL skills and psychosocial health?
We hypothesized that:
- The five SEL skills are interrelated.
- The five SEL skills are, separately and together, related with aspects of psychosocial health.
- One or more SEL skills mediate the relationship between other SEL skills and aspects of psychosocial health.
Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta analysis of school‐based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405-432. Gravesteijn J.C. & Diekstra R.F.W., (1998). Levensvaardigheden; een sociaal-emotioneel vaardigheidsprogramma voor adolescenten [Skills for Life programme for Adolescents]. Rotterdam: GGD Rotterdam e.o.. OECD (2015), Skills for Social Progress: The Power of Social and Emotional Skills, OECD Skills Studies, OECD Publishing Sklad, M., Diekstra, R., Ritter, M. D., Ben, J., & Gravesteijn, C. (2012). Effectiveness of school‐based universal social, emotional, and behavioral programs: Do they enhance students’ development in the area of skill, behavior, and adjustment?. Psychology in the Schools, 49(9), 892-909. Van der Ploeg, J. D., & Scholte, E. M. (2013). Handleiding Vragenlijst Psychosociale Vaardigheden (VPV). Commission Van Dorsselaer, S., De Looze, M. E., Vermeulen-Smit, E., de Roos, S., Verdurmen, J., ter Bogt, T. F. M., & Vollebergh, W. A. M. (2010). Gezondheid, welzijn en opvoeding van jongeren in Nederland. Trimbos-instituut. Van Widenfelt, B. M., Goedhart, A. W., Treffers, P. D., & Goodman, R. (2003). Dutch version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). European child & adolescent psychiatry, 12(6), 281-289. Zins, J. E., & Elias, M. J. (2007). Social and emotional learning: Promoting the development of all students. Journal of Educational & Psychological Consultation, 17(2), 233-255. doi:10.1080/10474410701413152
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