DOES ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE ANCHOR THE SUCCESS OF ALL STUDENTS
Children who are confronted with a multitude of complicated or distressed feelings cannot and will not learn effectively. Positive social and emotional well-being is especially important for children with SpLDs, such as Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Specific Language Impairment (SLI), who tend to develop low self-esteem, confidence and motivation.
Children with SpLDs are inclined to display psychosocial difficulties and often report feelings of not fitting in with their peers. Psychosocial difficulties relate to the mind’s ability to consciously or unconsciously, adapt the body to its social environment where feelings of hostility and hopelessness in the process of socialisation may occur.
Emotional responses from children can occur at any of the following three levels:
Therefore, social and emotional educational efforts with children with SpLDs include not only understanding and dealing with their weaknesses or disabilities but also serves to build psychosocial strengths rather than weaknesses.
The value of holistic education involves the stimulation and training of both a child’s cognitive and affective development. Insights from experts have alerted educators to the critical value of holistic education, which involves the stimulation and training of both a child’s cognitive and affective development. By strengthening and increasing social and emotional educational opportunities, we will increase our children’s capacity to learn, give them the tools to aspire to personal and professional achievements and enable them to experience personal satisfaction.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Many mainstream schools today are implementing and infusing social and emotional learning competency building into the curriculum. Many educators are honing their social and emotional skills through workshops and self-study, and parents too can bring social and emotional learning into their daily lives.
Boosting social and emotional competence among children with SpLDs will ensure that they develop skills that will enable them to propel safely in both the academic and social domain. Fortunately, social and emotional skills can be learned and enhanced at any age. Like basic functional tasks such as walking, talking or even toilet training, the regulation of emotional response is a developmental achievement which is not inherent at birth and hence, must be learned. These skills can, in essence, be best learnt through effective classroom instruction, student engagement of positive activities within or and outside the classroom, and broad parent and community involvement in programme planning implementation and evaluation. Hence, it is never too late to equip our learners with SpLDs with social and emotional skills so that they can navigate through life more effectively. It is important to recognise ways in which parents and educators, intentionally or not, act to promote the development of the five core competencies by recognising how we model, praise behaviours, and punish children in order to enhance or undermine their self-understanding.
Jonathan Cohen (2001), Social and Emotional Education: Core concepts and practice
Robin Stern, Social and Emotional Learning
Ross A. Thompson, The Social and Emotional Foundations of School Readiness
Emily Williams King (2005), Addressing the Social and Emotional Needs of Twice Exceptional Students
MOE website: http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/programmes/social-emotional-learning/
Carolyn, Webster-Stratton (1999), How To Promote Children’s Social and Emotional Competence.
This article was published in FACETS Vol 2. 2018
To read the full article click here.
By Hani Zohra Muhamad
Lead Educational Therapist and Educational Advisor
DAS English Language and Literacy Division