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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Reflective Practices for Professional Growth

Reflective practice can be a beneficial process in teacher professional development, both for pre-service and in-service teachers. Reflective practice enables teachers to recognize the authority of their own teaching experiences that includes how students respond to their teaching.

Reflective practice as defined by Schön (1996), involves thoughtfully considering one's own experiences in applying knowledge to practice while being coached by professionals in the discipline. Schön (1983) highlighted that the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning was one of the defining characteristics of professional practice. This important interplay between experience and reflection is also influenced by the time of reflection, which has a dramatic impact on what can be seen and acted on. Anticipatory, retrospective, and contemporaneous reflection demand different skills and framing abilities (Loughran, 1996) and interact with experience in a variety of ways.

Essentially reflective practice is where the teacher undertakes deliberate and sustained thought regarding practice supported by colleagues, with an intention of improved action.  The cultivation of the capacity to reflect while teaching and after teaching has competed is an ability that is critical to acquire as a teacher and its encouragement is seen as a particularly important aspect of the role of the mentor of the beginning professional (Elligate, 2007). Indeed, it can be argued that reflective practice needs another person as mentor or professional supervisor, who can ask appropriate questions and alternate perspectives to ensure that the reflection goes somewhere (Loughran, 2002). This collaborative model of reflective practice enriches the teacher’s personal reflections and provides them with suggestions from peers on how to refine their teaching practices (Syrjala, 1996). Uzat (1998) believed peer coaching also relates the concept of coaching to self-efficacy.

According to philosopher and educator John Dewey (1933), we begin to reflect on a complex situation when we face that situation and ask ourselves what needs to be done. Whitton et al., (2004), builds on Dewey’s understandings and suggests that reflection is a threefold process comprising direct experience, analysis of beliefs, values or knowledge about that experience and consideration of the options which should lead to action as a result of the analysis.

Clift et al., (1990) recommended that reflective teaching combine John Dewey's philosophy on the moral, situational aspects of teaching with Schön’s process for a more contextual approach to the concept of reflective practice to avoid a checklist mentality. 

The primary benefit of reflective practice for teachers is a deeper understanding of their own teaching style and ultimately, greater effectiveness as a teacher. Reflective practices allow for systematic investigation upon and through the lesson that is action orientated and involves those participating in the process (Kemmins and McTaggart, 1988; Hu and Weinel, 2006). It could be suggested that reflection leads to understanding that can improve future outcomes, through contemplation on how the task was presented and how it could have been approached differently. Thus, through the process of reflection and evaluation, the teacher extends professional learning and understanding of the relationship between teaching practices and learning outcomes. Through reflection teachers seek to understand what students ascertained, when they understand what has been learned, students are more likely to engage in deep learning. Goodyear et al., (2005) demonstrated that there is a positive relationship between perceptions of worth and a deep approach to learning which draw from teacher student collaboration within the reflection process.

Other specific benefits noted in literature include the validation of a teacher's ideals, beneficial challenges to tradition, the recognition of teaching as artistry, and respect for diversity in applying theory to classroom practice.

Clift, R.T., Houston, W.R., & Pugach, M.C., eds (1990). Encouraging reflective practices in education: An analysis of issues and programs. New York: Teachers College Press.
Dewey, J. (1933) How we think. Boston: D.C. Heath and Company
Elligate, J.E. (2007). Developing Better Practice for Beginning Primary Teachers. Trescowthick School of Education, Australian Catholic University. 
Goodyear, P., Jones, C., Asensio, M., Hodgson, V., & Steeples, C. (2005). Networked learning in higher education: students’ expectations and experiences. Higher Education, 50, 473–508.
Hu, C. and Weinel, M (2006) Reflective practice in lesson design, CoCo Research Centre, University of Sydney.
Kemmis, S. and R. McTaggart (1988) The Action Research Planner, 3rd ed, Geelong: Deakin University.
Loughran, J. J. (1996). Developing reflective practitioners: Learning about teaching and learning through modelling. London: Falmer.
Loughran, J.J (2002) Effective Reflective Practice: In Search of Meaning in Learning about Teaching Journal of Teacher Education, 53; 33
Schön, D.A. (1996). Educating the reflective practitioner: Toward a new design for teaching and learning in the professions. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc.
Syrjala, L. (1996). The teacher as a researcher. In Childhood Education: International Perspectives. Ed. Eeva Hujala. Finland: Association for Childhood Education International, Oulu University.

Uzat, S.L. (1998). Cognitive coaching and self-reflection: Looking in the mirror while looking through the window. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association. New Orleans, LA
Whitton, D., Sinclair, C., Barker, K., Nanlohy, P., & Nosworthy, M. (2004). Learning for teaching: Teaching for learning. Southbank, Victoria: Thomson Learning.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Technology can Enhance Pedagogy

It can be ascertained that by reading Glover et al., (2005), technology can enhance the pedagogy, subject to teachers and students engaging with it and understanding its potential.  It is a pedagogical means to achieve teaching and learning goals. Their outcomes aligned with my experience using the interactive whiteboards. The interactive whiteboard allowed the teacher to portray the information through a variety of illustration enhancing deeper understanding and engagement (Kennewell and Beauchamp, 2003).

Examples of Augmented Learning achieved in my classroom that have enhancing deeper understanding and engagement. Many of these were achieved using social media such as Google Hangouts.
Virtual excursions around the Great Barrier Reef
Global games such as “ Travelling Buddies”
Class blogs & Twitter in the Classroom
Experts in the room
Global issues reporter
Mystery Locations
Not Perfect Hat Club
Blended Learning
Problem Based Learning

I am able to model discussion and letter writing activities, annotate and elaborate these for student’s view, they were then able to copy these and build on these text types with other topics.  Anything drawn or written on the interactive whiteboard could be saved, built on, adapted, produced and when needed repeated for deeper exploration.

I found through the integration of the interactive whiteboard, lessons became easier to incorporate and used a range of multimedia resources in lessons, such as written text, pictures, video, sound, diagrams and websites to enhance learning experiences. An example was during a HSIE lesson on the topic of cultures, the class was discussing significant cultural aspects of India. The planned lesson was to examine the role of Indian media in maintaining and highlighting traditional Indian culture. The interactive whiteboard allowed the embedding within the lesson Bollywood dancing via a YouTube video. This activity inspired many students to begin to engage with the lesson, beyond the material covered, choosing to participate in optional personal interest projects on India, one even empowered her parents to join in with some Bollywood dancing as she began to research the heritage of the dance.
These student directed projects were valuable learning opportunities where students pursued areas they found interesting.

This reaction is supported by Mercer et al., (2005) who suggested students’ responses became increasingly elaborative when supported with activities presented through interaction with the board. In contrast students would present minimal responses when offered minimal interaction and guidance (Kirschner, Sweller and Clark, 2005).

In utilising the interactive whiteboard purposefully, I found students would build on what others draw or write on the board as well as what they say. I then designed a short lesson sequences to try out the new ideas allowed students to attach significance to their learning experience and generate deeper levels of understanding. Mini lessons regarding angles within triangles were examples of this where students using diagrams and the interactive scaffolding were able to discover that all triangles have 180 degrees and quadrilateral and circles have 360 degrees. When the teacher purposefully creates the right conditions to support risk taking and changing of minds, rich new forms of dialogue and activity emerge – both at the board and away from it (Mercer, et al., 2010).

I was also able to scaffold student learning by reducing the complexity of the task by providing material support for the development of their ideas. Scaffolding the learning builds student confidence and ability to expand intellectual qualities and is similar to that presented in Mercer, et al, (2010) where one of the research participants used this resource to develop pupil–pupil dialogue by allowing them time to dissect the task and target key points. I found this strategy quite effective to stimulate some whole-class dialogue about both the target text.

I fervently believe teachers, as professionals are required to continually develop, taking opportunities to learn new skills and enhance their abilities. Teachers who commit themselves to lifelong learning and professional development benefit themselves and their students; timidity with new technology and advancements educational pedagogy as noted by both Glover et al., (2005) and Mercer et al., (2010) has been the way of many experience teachers, though I desire to be a teacher who engages popular culture through technology in my classroom.  Mercer et al., (2005) imply activities such as this help the teacher to engage children in classroom dialogue.

With varied activities students think in different contexts about concepts and thus have a better understanding as reflective learners. For these teaching goals to be successfully accomplished a supportive learning environment where students must feel comfortable to take intellectual risks and express their opinions are imperative (Mercer, et al., 2005). My ultimate goal as an instructor is essentially to create a rippling effect in the lives of my students. Not only do I want them to gain concrete knowledge, more importantly I desire for them to apply the knowledge they have gained into their own personal endeavours, in order to do this adequately, it is essential that their engagement with learning is significant and vast and the interactive whiteboard presents as a tool to assist in creating these conditions within the classroom.

Glover, D. and Miller, D. (2003) Players in the Management of Change: introducing interactive whiteboards into schools, Management in Education, 17, pp. 20-23.

Glover, D. Miller, D. Averis, D. and Door, V. (2005) The Interactive Whiteboard: a literature survey. Technology, Pedagogy and Education. Volume 14 Number 2, Pp. 155-170.

Kennewell, S. and Beauchamp, G. (2003) The influence of a technology-rich classroom environment on elementary teachers’ pedagogy and children’s learning, Young Children and Learning Technologies: Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology, 34, 65–70.

Kirschner P.A. Sweller. J. and Clark, R.E. (2006) "Why minimally guided instruction does not work: an analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching", Educational Psychologist 41:2 p75-86.

Mercer, N. Hennessy, S. and Warwick, P. (2010) Using interactive whiteboards to orchestrate classroom dialogue, Technology, Pedagogy and Education
Vol. 19, No. 2, July 2010, 195–209

Friday, 29 May 2015

Pedagogical Tools Needed for Effective Classrooms

Why we use video
The use of video in the context of a lesson has significant impacts on both content retention and student engagement with McInerney and McInerney (1998, p.166-167) claiming that the technology provides students with ‘greater control over their own learning’ with benefits amounting to enhanced understanding resulting in ‘self-confidence, independence and autonomy’ within learning experiences. In the realm of language education, a key component across all key learning areas (KLA), Mejia (1999) extols the use of video as ‘valuable tool that can enhance a classroom experience’ through the acquisition and development of ‘listening, speaking and writing skills’ and using multiple ‘playbacks’, activities that include independent, group and whole class situations can elicit successful outcomes through ‘planned, flexible lessons, working with the level of the class’. ‘There is no one correct way to use video’ (Stempleski, 1987), however to not use this valuable tool within the class may be to the detriment of those who occupy the room.  

Why we use collaborative discussion
The mutual experiences shared through the use of technology offer realistic opportunities for student/teacher - student/student collaborative discussion to take place before, during and after its use. The importance of collaborative discussion can be seen in the unscripted and unpredictable dialogue that occurs and this collaborative discourse means that the outcomes emanating from these lessons are determined by all participants (Sawyer, 2003). The basic insight of constructivism is that learning is a creative improvisational process (Sawyer, 2003). Recent work that extends constructivist theory to classroom collaboration conceives of learning as ‘co-construction’. Both neo-Piagetian social constructivists and Vygotskian-inspired socio-culturalists focus on how knowledge is learned in and by groups (Verba, 1994) with studies demonstrating the importance of social interaction in groups where the processes reveal insights into how learning takes place, guiding future practice and planning for teachers as a result. 

Why we use group work
Kurt Lewin suggests that group work within a balanced, egalitarian, safe and emotionally secure environment is dramatically more effective as a learning methodology then an authoritarian approach (Exley & Dennick, 2004, p. 36). The classroom environment is, or should be, a safe and secure environment where groups can be facilitated in order to advance from a authoritarian environment to a self exploration of ideas, understandings, processes and knowledge applied to practical and educational tasks (Exley & Dennick, 2004, p.37).

Providing opportunities for students to engage collaboratively in lessons and activities is an important part of the learning process as it creates possibilities for students to engage with and develop skills outside the specific framework of the outcomes with any given lesson (Herrington & Herrington, 2006, p. 4). The intentional design of groups within this lesson is specifically aimed at allowing students to engage with not only the skills of working together but also solving problems from a collaborative perspective and allowing students to observe and interact with different perceptions and different ways of addressing tasks (Herrington & Herrington, 2006, p. 6). It is this methodology that will allow students to rationalize their own understanding of what needs to be achieved and then articulate that intention effectively to the group as well as evaluate and analyse it in comparison to the other members’ intentions and perceptions. 

Implementing a group rotation phase within the lessons sequence allows students to not only engage with different ideas, concepts and perceptions but it also encourages cooperation. Cooperation is achieved as the elements within the lesson require collaboration to ensure success (O’Sullivan et al, 1996, p.38). Through collaborative learning and group phases students will engage at a deeper level with the lesson material as they will need to have some tasks explained to them by others, which will require the development of questioning techniques, just as they will need to explain aspects to others, requiring reconstruction skills and effective communication (O’Sullivan et al, 1996, p.39). It is this engagement with the task on multiple levels and constructing it in varying ways to ensure others within the group can relate strategies to other students and in turn become a more effective communicator, learner and group collaborator (Jones & Jones, 1998, p.221). 

Why we use student-centred teaching
Student-centred Learning is the process whereby students themselves observe, apply and engage with knowledge to experience success within an environment constructed by a teacher for the students (Glasgow, 1997, p. 34). This is to say that this lesson is designed around the concept of creating an environment whereby students have access to information which they use to develop their understandings and then apply that in contextual problem based or investigation based activities. This methodology is advantageous as it allows students to “learn to learn” and expand their roles as stakeholders in their education (Glasgow, 2007, p.35). 

Learning to learn, or “positive interdependent educational interaction”, is a key aspect of what a contemporary educational environment should be built upon as it allow students to move away from recited facts and recalling list based answers and develop skills in experimentation and exploration to solve problems in the classroom and in life (Johnson et al, 1991, p.17) This lesson fosters these skills and allows students to find answers by employing techniques of questioning, analysing, assessing and evaluating rather than recalling rhetoric. This in turn will then equip our students to engage with unfamiliar tasks in the future with confidence as they have developed a learning style built upon adaption, interaction, reflection and experimentation (Fraser. 1996, p. 3).

How we use the interactive whiteboard 
The Interactive Whiteboard was used as it offers many benefits to the given lesson; these include demonstration and modelling as the teacher could showcase the application or video from the board (Moss et al, 2007), using their finger as the mouse; this can been shown in accessing a youtube video. It is easy to show the important features of particular software and have students interact with the material. The board can accommodate different learning styles (Herrington & Harrington, 2006). Tactile learners can benefit from touching and marking at the board, audio learners can have the class discussion and auditory multimedia, visual learners can see what is taking place as it develops at the board and it offers multimodal learning which can be tailored to the ability and stage of individual learners (McInerney & McInerney, 1998). Students can work together with individuals contributing at the board, other participants at the computer, and the group as a whole discussing the activity. 

The ultimate goal is to give students the best opportunity to be engaged with each learning experience offering them consistency, accuracy and comprehensiveness. This is primarily a constructivist approach to teaching (Mcleod & Reynolds 2007:12-14) and as such, we appreciate that students build their own understanding of the world they live in. From our experience we find Students respond well to the student-centered approach, they are quick to respond, engage and participate in class. Such an approach establishes high expectations of students and the teachers, in regards to the quality of the learning experience (Vialle, Lysaght & Verenikina, 2000). The Constructionist approach emphasizes hand-on, activity based teaching & learning during which students develop their own frames of thought. 

The interactive whiteboard is an excellent tool as it presents the teacher with the ability to encourage critical thinking in students (Hmelo-Silver, Duncan and Chinn, 2007). Attributes include ease of use, group interaction, ready availability of software to be used. Since the boards can be used with any software, they are extremely adaptable for numerous uses and do not require acquisition of additional software. Their creative use is limited only by the imaginations of teachers and students (Mejia, 1999). It is interactive therefore users can be contributing directly by input both at the computer and at the board. The interaction that transpires between the person at the computer, the users at the board, and the computer itself is a unique and very adaptable arrangement.
The board is great for lessons where the participants need printed copies of the proceedings. At the end of a brainstorming activity, copies of the resulting document can be printed and distributed, as well as be saved for future work. 

How and why we are scaffolding and modelling activities.
Scaffolding and modelling provides an example of the teacher’s expectations, whereby the most important steps and decisions are emphasised (Jonassen, 1998).  Scaffolding the learning builds student confidence and ability to expand intellectual qualities through constant constructive feedback as part of learning processes (Beale, 2005). This occurs when the learner’s inner speech occurs on an automatic, unconscious level (Ellis, Larkin and Worthington 1994). In our classrooms the teacher demonstrates using video, websites and the information desired for the student to learn then students interact with experiments. IWB and websites are used to discover opportunities, practice interaction with technology and develop proficiency to create a basis for further student development.  The desired experience was scaffolded as a way of providing support, such as contextual support, support by asking 'leading questions’, support by giving away parts of the solution and asking students to draw on their previous experience (Winnips, 1998, p. 35). The activities offer the teacher the opportunity to illustrate and explain the different perspectives and arguments from this potentially precarious environmental subject, placing it in everyday situations using different approaches to the ways of learning (Bonwell and Eison, 2000). The scaffolding process is designed to ensure that throughout the unit students become more self-reliant and develop skills to become self directed learners, an example of this is making the student aware of the process which led to the discovery (Coltman, Petyaeva & Anghileri, 2002).  In addition to improving learners’ cognitive abilities, scaffolding instruction in the context of classroom learning delivers efficiency as the work is structured and focused. The distractions have been reduced allowing time on task and efficiency in completing the activity to be increased. Creating momentum through the structure provided by scaffolding. Students spend less time searching and more time on learning and discovering, resulting in quicker learning (McKenzie, 1999).

In this, the needs of individual students learning styles are catered for, increasing engagement (DET NSW, 2003:13) and significance (DET NSW, 2003:14). By teachers knowing and utilising the student’s learning styles, they help develop coping strategies to compensate for the student’s weaknesses and capitalise on the student’s strengths. Scaffolding is an important instructional tool because it supports students’ learning. It helps students to understand that they can teach and learn from others that lead to collaboration. Students require practice to actively construct knowledge, build connections and mental schemata. Learning in this type of socially constructed environment leads to students taking responsibility for their own learning and respecting their own and others’ thinking.

Beale, I. L. (2005). Scaffolding and integrated assessment in computer assisted learning for children with learning disabilities. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 21(2), 173-191.
Coltman, P., Petyaeva, D., & Anghileri, J. (2002). Scaffolding learning through meaningful tasks and adult interaction. Early Years, 22(1), 39-49. 
Exley, K. & Dennick, R., 2004, Small Groups Teaching: Tutorials, Seminars and Beyond, RoutledgeFalmer: New York. 
Ellis, E., Larkin, M ., & Worthington, L. (1994). Executive summary of the research synthesis on effective teaching principles and the design of quality tools for educators. University of Alabama, AL. 
Fraser, K., 1996, Student Centred Teaching: The Development and Use of Conceptual Frameworks, H.E.R.D.S.A: Canberra.
Glasgow, N., 2007, New Curriculum for New Times: A Guide to Student-Centred, Problem-Based Learning, Corwin: Thousand Oaks.
Herrington, A. & Harrington, J., 2006, Authentic Learning Environments in Higher Education, Information Science: Melbourne.
Hmelo- Silver, C. Duncan, R.G and Chinn, C.A. (2007) Scaffolding and Achievement in Problem Based and Inquiry Learning. Educational Psychologist, 42(2), 99-107
Johnston, D., Johnson, R. & Smith, K., 1991, Cooperative Learning: Increasing College Faculty Instructional Productivity, Washington University: Washington.
Jonassen, D. H. (1998). Designing constructivist learning environments. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional theories and models (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Jones, V. & Jones L., 1998, Comprehensive Classroom Management: Creating Communities of Support and Solving Problems, Allyn and Bacon: Sydney. 
McInerney, D. & McInerney, V. (1998). Educational Psychology: Constructing Learning. Sydney: Prentice Hall. 
McKenzie, J. (1999).  Scaffolding for Success. Beyond Technology, Questioning, Research and the Information Literate School Community. 
McLeod & Reynolds (2007) Quality Teaching for Quality Learning, South Melbourne : Thomson Social Science Press.
Mejia, E. (1999). Video in Language Education: Making News Broadcasts Work for You. URL: 
Moss, G., Jewitt, C., Levačić, R., Armstrong, V. Cardini, A and Castle, F (2007) The Interactive Whiteboards, Pedagogy
and Pupil Performance Evaluation: an Evaluation of the Schools Whiteboard Expansion (SWE) Project: London Challenge, School of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies, Institute of Education, University of London.
DET NSW (2003) Quality Teaching in NSW public schools, discussion paper. New South Wales Department of Education, Sydney.
O’sullivan, T., Rice, J., Rogerson, S. & Saunders, C., 1996, Successful Group Work, De Montfort University: London. 
Sawyer, R. K. (2003). Improvised dialogues: Emergence and creativity in conversation. Westport, CT: Greenwood.
Stempleski, S. (1987). Short takes: using authentic video in the English class. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages: Westende, Belgium. 
Verba, M. (1994). The beginnings of collaboration in peer interaction. Human Development, 37, 125–139.
Winnips, J. C. (1998). Scaffolding the development of skills in the design process for educational media through hyperlinked units of learning material: report of activities performed in the first year of PH. D. research (Internal report). Enschede: University of Twente, Netherlands.
Vialle, W., Lysaght, P. and Verenikina, I. (2000) Handbook on Child Development. Social Science Press Australia

Friday, 8 May 2015

Does Developing Emotional Intelligence Matter?

Emotional Intelligence can be described as an innate response to emotions and the ability to effectively use, regulate and communicate one's feelings. It is also encompasses one’s ability to recognise, remember, describe and identify those feelings. As a result one is then able to learn from, manage, understand and explain those emotions.

Theoretical Aspect

In some circles E.I. has become the new “buzzword” in education since the publication of “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman in 1995. Despite this heightened level of interest in E.I. over the past decade, philosophers and theorists have been studying social and emotional development as far back to the Greek philosopher Plato. In 427BC Plato philosophised that “all learning has an emotional base”. The word “philosophy” means “the love of wisdom”. This in itself reflects Plato’s words and reinforces that to learn, one must have an emotion or feeling that compels one to want to learn. Plato’s idea of E.I. been connected to IQ or general intelligence is significant when we have late 20th century contemporary theorists, such as Gardner (1975), Goleman (1995) Mayer & Salovey (1997) and Bar-on (2006) suggesting the same.

In 1872 Charles Darwin published the first known work about emotional-social development based on the importance of emotional expression for survival and adaptation (Bar-on, 2006). Additionally, Edward Thorndike (1920) was the first to coin the term “social intelligence “ (S.I.) (Indiana Education, 2008) and included S.I. in his three facets of intelligence: Abstract, Mechanical and Social. Thorndike was also one of the first pioneers on the theory of “active learning” (Cox, 1997). His theory suggested that children are more motivated to learn if they direct their own learning rather than them receiving instructions/directions from teachers.

More recently, Mayer and Salovey (1997) defined emotional intelligence as, “an individual’s capacity to reason about emotions and to process emotional information to enhance cognitive processes and regulate behaviour”. The authors discovered that some people were better than others at identifying their own and others feelings and solving problems involving emotional issues. They also suggested “general intelligence that includes emotional Intelligence will be [a] more powerful predictor of important life outcomes than one that does not” (p. 67).  Goleman (cited in Business Summaries, p 4, 2003) suggested that this limits of using IQ alone to assess one's success in a job. He points out that when IQ test results are correlated with how well people perform in their careers, “IQ at its highest only accounts for 25% of the score and that the remaining 75% of job success is unexplained”.

In 1975 Howard Gardner published “The Shattered Mind”’ where he introduced his concept of Multiple Intelligences  (M.I.) in which two of his intelligences are related to social and emotional development.  These include Interpersonal Intelligence, which means “the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people”, and Intrapersonal intelligence refers to “the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivation” (p.103). Lately, Bar-on (2006) suggests, “Emotional-social intelligence is composed of a number of intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies, skills and facilitators that combine to determine effective human behaviour”. He refers to this construct as “emotional-social intelligence” (ESI).

These theorists strongly suggest that having a well-developed or strong E.I./E.S.I can be a significant predictor in why “some people become successful while others fail despite natural talent, gifts, or intelligence.  While some people possess varying degrees of ability, often the most talented are not always the most successful, happy, or wealthy” (Richburg & Fletcher, 2002, p.31). If this is the case, then we must consider practical aspects or applications on how to develop E.I. or S.E.I in the classroom setting. It is therefore apparent that if a student is and/or working towards being socially competent and emotionally intelligent then they have a better chance of becoming more successful and an active contributing member of society.

Practical Aspects
According to Goleman’s (2002) follow-up paper Emotional Intelligence: Five Years Later’, the best “social and emotional learning programs teach the full spectrum of E.I. abilities, from self-awareness to social problem-solving. They repeat the lessons over the full course of a child's school years in a developmentally appropriate way and fit seamlessly into standard curricula in ways that enhance other topics without stealing time from them” (p.1).

This practice appears to be happening in some schools with the implementation of whole school curricula that focus on social and emotional issues. For example Criterkin's Not Perfect Hat Club, Life Education Happy Harrold program and the anti-bulling and self-empowerment schemes such as, I Have the Power, It’s My Choice and You Can Make It, Habits of Mind. The Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) program also appears popular with schools and many classroom teachers are implementing Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences model into learning stations, that cater for the individual needs of students.  The aim of the program is to help develop emotional competence in children and provide them with the social and emotional tools to develop personal responsibility, overcome adversity, face fear, maintain self-control and build inner strength and resilience.

Developing emotional intelligence undeniably starts within the home and family context. However, the school environment, educators and school curriculum are considered to be the next important aspects of children’s lives.

The teacher’s level of E.I. is an important factor in creating a classroom that is conducive to learning. It is how the teacher reacts and responds to actions (especially the negative ones) within the classroom environment that strongly influences students. For he or she to be a successful role model they must according to Gordon (1970) handle their “feelings in an authentic, real and healthy way”. Teachers can help students develop their E.I. by helping student's to label their feelings – teach them a range of feeling words, express their own feelings and most importantly talk about feelings regularly. Giving real choices and honour students’ decisions. Respecting their feelings and asking them how they feel. Validating and accepting their feelings by showing understanding and empathy. Gordon (1970) suggests this empowers students as it helps them to identify  "What would help them feel better?” Teaching them strategies to solve their own problems. 

The Learning Environment
The classroom environment needs to have a positive “vibe” that promotes open, safe and honest discussion between teacher and student and student and their peers. Students will more likely develop stronger E.I. skills if their learning environment is safe and supportive, free from threats, force, manipulation, pressure and punishment. 

Allowing students to have real choices within their learning program and subsequent activities and lessons (e.g. some lessons are not compulsory) promoting the feeling of empowerment that they are contributing to their own learning via the choices they make.
A learning environment that is respectful of all participant’s feelings, emotions, and beliefs is critical in developing strong E.I.  Students and teachers who feel valued and are aware that their own unique qualities are recognised by others is paramount to developing their self-esteem and awareness. These are important characteristics of E.I.

Classroom set-up plays an important role in enhancing an E.I. culture. These could include the physical layout of table/learning stations; for example do they provide opportunities for communication and teamwork?

Ensuring that E.I/S.E.I is not only a component of the formal school curriculum, but is also included in the informal/hidden curriculum. Providing appropriate literature (classroom, library, staffroom, articles, blogs, newsletter, notice board) is one way of educating staff, parents and children informally about the importance of social skills and emotional intelligence.

The content and materials the teacher uses in the school environment needs to relevant, meaningful and practical to students if their life and relationship skills are to be developed. Additionally, student's natural curiosity and need to learn will be enhanced if the lessons are flexible, stimulating and interesting.

“Emotions are known to be powerful organisers of thought and action” (Chieh, 1999) and ultimately children model what they see. According to Goleman (2002), E.I. can be learned and that the inter-relation of IQ and E.I. is important for a degree of success in one’s life. If students can master a range of social and emotional competencies that help them to solve complex and uncomplicated problems, or make important decisions about their lives and/or actions, then they have a toolbox equipped with life tools that will enable them to better anticipate uncertainties and plan their actions accordingly.

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