Experiences of the course in social and emotional skills in p.e. teacher training

Por: Marjo Kuusela, Pilvikki Heikinaro-Johansson, Taru Lintunen e Ulla Klemola.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction

Teachers and teacher education nowadays face new challenges. Many of the rapid changes taking place in modern society are reflected in schools, causing pupils´ behavioural and personal problems. To cope with these problems teachers need social and emotional skills [1]. However, very little research exists into teaching and learning social and emotional skills in teacher training. The aim of the study was to plan, administer and evaluate a course in these skills given as part of physical education teacher training. The skills taught and studied in the course were the ability to express thoughts and emotions clearly, active listening and problem-solving skills. The purpose of this paper is to describe the implementation of the course and the experiences of the students and the teacher-researcher (first author).

Methods

The course in social and emotional skills was administered in the Department of Physical Education, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, during the spring term 2001. The duration of the course was 30 hours per group. The participants were third-year P.E. students (n=33) in three groups. The data consisted of an observational diary kept by the teacher-researcher and students´ questionnaires and diaries. The lessons given by one of the groups were videotaped. This study was a qualitative case study, defined as action research.

Results

Both the students and the teacher-researcher found the course in social and emotional skills of practical benefit. The students perceived that they had acquired social and emotional skills useful in the school context as well as in their everyday lives. Both the students and the teacher-researcher found the course contents and teaching methods important, useful and practical. They also found the various experiential teaching methods, such as exercises, discussions, demonstrations and narratives, helpful. The students pointed to the importance of practising their social and emotional skills continually during their studies.

Conclusions

The experiences of the students and the teacher-researcher were positive. The students found that their preparedness to face social interaction situations increased. Courses in social and emotional skills having similar contents and methods could be more widely applied in pre-service and in-service teacher training, including coach education programmes.

References

[1]Graczyk, P., Weissberg, J, Payton, J., Elias, M., Greenberg, M & Zins, J.2000. Criteria for evaluating the quality of school-based social and emotional learning programs. In R. Bar-On and J.Parker (ed.) The handbook of emotional intelligence. Theory, development, assessment and application at home, school and in the workplace. San Fransico: Jossey-Bass, 391-410.

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