ERG SES B 01, Interactive Poster Session B 01
The aim of the research is to understand the active ingredients of learning environments in order to develop social competence in children. The study is practice orientated and experiential in its approach; that means that the researcher makes a constant effort to understand the process of experiencing of others (children and teachers).
In the research, social competence is treated in the holistic way. It ‘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’ (Free State Department of Education, 2007).
The development is understood in line with the approach inspired by the most recent paradigm on competence learning - not as adding to child’s mind a list of isolated skills and specific information concerning the world of social phenomena, but as activating and changing children’s schemes that represent social reality. In other words, creating a powerful learning environment will aim at changing a ‘program’ instead of adding new ‘files’ to pupil’s cognitive repertoire.
The study will address three categories of variables: the context, the process and the effect. The research will be designed as an intervention research using an existing set of materials published under a name “A House Full of Emotions” by the CEGO. The set is created for children aged 5 to 12. It offers activities which help children identify 21 emotions and 10 basic types of relational behaviour and reflect on them. The ‘House’ contains 63 situational picture cards (each has a story and questions about the feeling depicted on the back), 10 large picture cards presenting animals in stories about different relationships and emotions, 48 dominoes and a board game featuring the animals.
The overall research question is: What are the active ingredients of learning environment that contribute to developing social competence?
The specific research questions are:
What is the impact of the use of the set of materials “A House Full of Emotions” on the development of social competence and what role is played by background variables in a child (gender, age, etc.)?
What can we learn from the process of implementation the set of materials the ‘House’ and from the conditions that support the effective implementation?
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