03 SES 13 A, Constructing Purposes and Legitimizing Social and Emotional Learning in Youth Education. Part 1
One prominent example of large scale comparative research and evaluation efforts in education is the OECD's (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) initiatives in education of which the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is most well-known. The OECD has developed a broader concept of knowledge and skills, today most often referred to as ‘competences’, and sometimes called ‘life skills’. According to the OECD, ‘the demands of modern life’ mean that people need ‘more than the mastery of certain narrowly defined skills’ (OECD 2005: 5). We argue that it is possible to interpret socio-emotional activities in public education of young people in European countries as efforts to implement ideas similar to the OECD's ambitions. In Sweden many of these efforts are introduced locally by individuals related to schools ('school actors'), such as municipal officials and school leaders. This paper specifically focuses on the question of how school actors in the Swedish school system legitimize and motivate their activities within Life Competence Education. A discourse analysis shows that central elements are moralizing narratives of contemporary childhood, with references to research in psychology, the neurosciences and spiritual traditions. Reference: OECD (2005) The Definition and Selection of Key Competencies. Executive Summary http://www.deseco.admin.ch/bfs/deseco/en/index/02.parsys.43469.downloadList.2296.DownloadFile.tmp/2005.dskcexecutivesummary.en.pdf (130129)
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