Development of social and emotional skills: what are the winning conditions?

The Saint-Hyacinthe School Services Center, in collaboration with the CTREQ, carried out action research on the development of social and emotional skills in children over the past year. Four essential conditions have been identified in order to allow schools to set up innovative programs.

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The Saint-Hyacinthe School Services Center (CSSSH), in collaboration with the CTREQ, carried out action research on the development of social and emotional skills in children over the past year. The results recently published will help support communities that want to embark on a similar process.

Unique action research

Bullying, anxiety, aggression, depression are more and more visible in elementary school lessons. Teaching social and emotional skills enables young people to better manage their emotions. However, without the implementation of a dedicated program throughout the school, learning often remains fragmented and becomes less effective. This is what the Higher Education Council indicated in its report. Child well-being at school: let's do our homework, published in 2020. 

Carried out in three primary establishments of the CSSSH, the main aim of the action research project was to identify the conditions favorable to the implementation of a program for the development of social and emotional skills. The choice of the tested program fell on moozoom, a Quebec digital platform launched in 2020. 

A program adapted to the reality of Quebec

The moozoom program is an interactive video platform that presents situations that students can face on a daily basis. The scenes show young people in a situation of rejection, intimidation or fear of failure, for example. Students react to videos as a story in which you are the hero. The program, which uses explicit behavioral instruction, is accompanied by educational sheets, learning activities, exercises and a dashboard to ensure follow-up. You can read again our article already published about the platform.

Four essential conditions for success 

At the end of the action research, four conditions were identified in order to allow the participating schools to set up innovative systems promoting the development of social and emotional skills:

  1. Involvement of all staff
    The success of such a program requires the involvement of all school stakeholders. The setting up of an implementation committee and the appointment of a manager promotes staff motivation and coordination of interventions.
  2. Environment promoting positive interactions
    All staff members must mobilize to value positive interventions and reinforce the schoolyard, gymnasium, common areas, management office, etc.
  3. Multimodal intervention design
    Staff should be able to integrate program activities in whatever way they see fit. Teaching materials can be used as a trigger for an activity or as an intervention following a problematic situation. The integration of activities into educational planning, whether within a course or by devoting a dedicated time to it, promotes learning.
  4. Involvement of parents, peers and the student
    Staff must mobilize to keep students active, at the heart of their learning. The contribution of the parents is not negligible and allows a better cohesion. To facilitate this school-family link, the use of a digital platform, moozoom in this case, was facilitating.

In the appendix to the report, it is possible to consult avenues of intervention aimed at interveners as well as parents. These tools were developed in addition to the moozoom program and can be used independently.

The mental health of young people is worrying and the school must play its role in the development of social and emotional skills. 

Watch for the next issue of L'École branchée magazine, which will focus entirely on teaching social and emotional skills. Subscribe by November 30 to get it. 

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About the Author

Phylippe Laurendeau
Phylippe laurendeau
For 25 years, the biologist, teacher, educational advisor and now technopedagogue has accumulated a rich and diversified experience in education. In her texts, Phylippe uses her background and her passion for digital resources, efficient practices and distance learning.

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