ERG SES C 05, Ignite Talks
Ignite Talk Session
A strong social-emotional development is prerequisite for children´s health. As defined by the World Health Organization in 1946 and signed by 61 states, being healthy is not the same as the absence of disease or infirmity. Instead, being healthy means a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being (World Health Organization [WHO]). From an educational perspective, schools can play an essential role in fostering children´s basic social-emotional development (Durlak et al. 2011). Investment in children´s social-emotional well-being may decrease children´s risk behaviour and school drop-out rates, increase academic outcomes and improve a healthy lifestyle in terms of nutrition and physical activity (Jansen, Stäbler, Becker & Neumann, 2017; Tuk & Verboom, 2013; Durlak et al., 2011). Yet, researchers maintain that emotions have not been taken seriously in our previous century. For instance, neuroscientist Damasio (1998) argued that is has been generally ignored that emotions have impact on cognition and the brain, bar as a disturbing factor (as also described in Schwarz-Friesel, 2013). Damasio (1998) also sustained that emotions are not as subjective and slippery to measure as believed. He distinguished different forms of emotions and investigated how these emotions influence feelings, thinking, working memory and decision making in a complex and bidirectional manner (Damasio, 1998). In educational research, the social-emotional well-being of children has been defined and interpreted in different ways and from multiple perspectives. Research during the past decades has focused on, i.a., motivation, self-efficacy beliefs, relationship skills, self-awareness, self-management, resilience, agency, future goals and social awareness (e.g. Durlak et al., 2011; Hadjar & Niedermoser, 2019; Jansen et al., 2017), but also on non-typical social-emotional development related to, for example, trauma, stress, social anxiety, autism or unexplainable somatic complaints (e.g Horeweg, 2018; Sprung et al., 2015; Rieffe et al., 2008).
Irrespective of the definition, one of the factors that play an important role in primary school children´s social-emotional well-being is language, and multilingualism (e.g. Dewaele & Pavlenko, 2003; Schwarz-Friesel, 2013). Firstly, the more language children can use, the easier they can communicate and explain their feelings (Bamberg, 1997). The older children grow, the less they should need gestures, body language or loud voice to show feelings of angriness, fear, frustration or other emotions (Hallahan, Kauffman & Pullen, 2012). Therefore, researchers suggest it is essential for children to develop a vocabulary of feelings, which is considered a task of schools, especially when children grow up with another language at home than the schooling language (e.g. Dewaele & Pavlenko, 2003). The other way around, attention for language, including linguistic diversity, can increase children´s feeling of confidence, empowerment and belonging, leading to better behaviour and performance as well (described in: Cummins & Early, 2011; García & Wei, 2013; Duarte & Günther-van der Meij, 2018).
In the present contribution, which is part of a larger PhD project, I conduct a systematic review to investigate the relationship between social-emotional development and language, with a special focus on multilingualism: how are the concepts of language and multilingualism related to social-emotional well-being? This question is theoretically but especially practically relevant, as both emotion in general as well as the role of languages and multilingualism in the social-emotional well-being of primary school children are under-researched (Durlak et al., 2011). By finding out what has been researched so far, I tend to bring parallel as well as separate lines of research together and to illuminate where gaps in research still exist.
I conduct a systematic literature review of literature in the languages English, Dutch and German. To ensure the quality, I follow guidelines of Wright et al. (2007), on how to write a systematic review, and the example of Durlak et al. (2011). I use four search strategies in an attempt to secure a systematic, nonbiased, representative sample of published and unpublished studies. First, I identify relevant studies through computer searches with programs like i.a. Google Scholar, using the following search terms and their variants: social and emotional learning, emotion, psychosocial factors, motivation, self-awareness, self-efficacy, agency, resilience, self-management, relationship skills, non-typical emotional development, stress, language, multilingualism, bilingualism, linguistic diversity. Second, I examine the reference list of each identified study. Third, I conduct manual searches in relevant journals, from 2000 till 2019. Examples are American Educational Research Journal, American Journal of Community Psychology, Child Development, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Journal of Primary Prevention, Journal of School Psychology, Psychology in the Schools, and School Psychology Review, Die Grundschulzeitschrift, Zeitschrift für Heilpädagogik, Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaften, Passend Onderwijs Magazine, Didactief, Basisschoolmanagement, Pedagogiek. Fourth, I search work of authors who presented relevant work at conferences or workshops. Studies eligible for review are (a) written in English, Dutch or German – to avoid publication bias (Wright et al., 2007), (b) appeared in published or unpublished form by February 2019, (c) targeted students between the ages of 5 and 12, with or without any identified adjustment or learning problems, (d) emphasized at least one socio-emotional aspect and one linguistic aspect, (e) included empirical data, quantitative-analytic or qualitative-interpretative, (f) provided information on the research process, including quality criteria. For quantitative research, this concerns reliability and validity, for qualitative research transparency and credibility (Carcary, 2009). The social-emotional and linguistic factors can both be independent or dependent variable. After including and excluding studies based on the inclusion criteria, I describe each study in tabular format. For this, I use a coding system to record relevant information such as its date of appearance and source, research questions, characteristics of the participants, socio-emotional focus, linguistic focus, methodological features, biases, other factors researched, context, and measured outcomes. I will then attempt to answer my research question by grouping similar studies, illuminate overlap between studies with different foci and point out controversies.
The results of this explorative systematic review will be used to define the next steps in this research field. Expected results are that language and emotion are closely related, but that research is fragmented. By bringing socio-emotional and linguistic work with highly diverse focus together, I attempt to define new directions for research. By having such a wide lens – including all kinds of definitions of language, multilingualism and social-emotional well-being –, I aim at developing a holistic model in which socio-emotional and linguistic factors can be understood better within their specific context. I will demonstrate to what extent existing research in separate research traditions generate overlapping or different findings. I will also outline which domains of socio-emotional well-being have been most often researched in relation to language and multilingualism, and which less. In sum, I expect to provide structure in the field and to be able to generate multiple new research questions. In other parts of this promotion research, I will combine the findings of this review with literacy research and methods of empowerment (e.g. Cummins & Early, 2011), including ethnographic participatory observation and interviews with children.
Bamberg, M. (1997). Language, Concepts, and Emotions: The Role of Language in the Construction of Emotions. Language sciences, 19, 309-40. Carcary, M. (2009). The Research Audit Trial--Enhancing Trustworthiness in Qualitative Inquiry. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 7. Cummins, J., & Early, M. (2010). Identity Texts: The Collaborative Creation of Power in Multilingual Schools. Trentham Books Ltd. Westview House 734 London Road, Oakhill, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST4 5NP, UK. Damasio, A. R. (1998). Emotion in the perspective of an integrated nervous system. Brain research reviews, 26, 83-86. Dewaele, J. M., & Pavlenko, A. (2003). Emotion vocabulary in interlanguage. Language learning, 52, 263-322. Duarte, J. & Günther-van der Meij, Mirjam (2018). A holistic model for multilingualism in education, EuroAmerican Journal of Applied Linguistics and Languages, 5, 24-43. 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, 405-432. García, O., & Wei, L. (2014). Translanguaging and education. In Translanguaging: Language, bilingualism and education (pp. 63-77). Palgrave Macmillan, London. Hadjar, A., & Niedermoser, D. W. (2019). The role of future orientations and future life goals in achievement among secondary school students in Switzerland. Journal of Youth Studies, 1-18. Hallahan, D. P., Kauffman, J. M., & Pullen, P. C. (2012). Exceptional learners: Introduction to special education (12th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Horeweg, A. (2018). De traumasensitieve school. Houten: LannooCampus Jansen, M., Stäbler, F., Becker, M., & Neumann, M. (2017). Motivationale Orientierungen und Aspekte schulischen Wohlbefindens vor und nach der Berliner Schulstrukturreform. In Zweigliedrigkeit im deutschen Schulsystem: Potenziale und Herausforderungen in Berlin (pp. 295-320). Münster: Waxmann. Rieffe, C., Oosterveld, P., Miers, A. C., Terwogt, M. M., & Ly, V. (2008). Emotion awareness and internalising symptoms in children and adolescents: The Emotion Awareness Questionnaire revised. Personality and Individual Differences, 45(8), 756-761. Sprung, M., Münch, H. M., Harris, P. L., Ebesutani, C., & Hofmann, S. G. (2015). Children's emotion understanding: A meta-analysis of training studies. Developmental Review, 37, 41-65. Schwarz-Friesel, M. (2007). Sprache und emotion. Tübingen: Francke. Tuk, B., & Verboom, A. (2013). Gezond op school: nota integrale gezondheidsbevordering in het primair onderwijs. Utrecht: Pharos Kennis- en adviescentrum migranten, vluchtelingen en gezondheid. Wright, R. W., Brand, R. A., Dunn, W. & Spindler K. P. (2007). How to write a Systematic Review. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int [31.01.2019]
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