Generating socio-emotional learning in children and adolescents living in vulnerable conditions: : Perceptions of practices
Abstract: Many children and adolescents that live under vulnerable social conditions in Latin America and Colombia do not have access to quality programmes that focus on psychosocial education based on socio-emotional learning. Research evidence on practices used by programme facilitators is still underdeveloped in the region. This study explores facilitators’ perceptions of practices that are considered to generate socio-emotional learning in children and adolescents who participate in related programmes in Bogotá-Colombia. The main objective of this exploratory, non-experimental research study is to provide an account of existing methodologies and practices as perceived by facilitators belonging to the fields of social work, education, and psychology. An interview guide was designed to invite respondents to share their views and experiences of socio-emotional learning. Then, content analysis procedures were used to find out the relevant themes and categories shared by the respondents, and thereby identify the critical factors related to the stated research problem. Respondents were invited to answer a predetermined sequence of questions following an interview guide. This process resulted in two main themes: (1) Conditions that contribute to socio-emotional learning and (2) Factors considered relevant for programme operation. Emerging categories explore the following topics: further observation of needs among children; social, emotional and pedagogical skills among facilitators; parents’ current situation with parenting and social and emotional skills; ways to plan and implement activities or interventions; examples of key partnerships; and ways to follow up the impact of practices on children. In this study, respondents’ shared experiences show that socio-emotional learning is key to resilience processes. With the enacted legislation and some design and management of programmes to promote mental wellbeing through social and emotional education, continued research from psychosocial and education fields is needed to assess the impact of programme practices in schools, families, and communities. Research is also needed on how to revise social and emotional learning approaches implemented in school settings for use by participants in other contexts with increased levels of aggressiveness and violence. These aspects must be considered in regard to a family’s or a community’s willingness to learn and adopt socio-emotional skills.
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