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International Journal of Early Childhood

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 335–352 | Cite as

Facilitating Social Emotional Learning in Kindergarten Classrooms: Situational Factors and Teachers’ Strategies

  • Siew Chin NgEmail author
  • Rebecca Bull
Original Article

Abstract

Many young children spend a significant amount of time each day in preschool settings. It is important to understand how teachers create and maximize opportunities for children’s social and emotional learning (SEL) in the classrooms. This research was conducted in Singapore and explores how SEL is supported by teachers in areas identified in the national curriculum (self-awareness and positive self-concept, self-management, social awareness, relationship management, and responsible decision-making). The qualitative analyses draw on observations across six preschool classrooms. There were 32 instances identified in which teachers provided support for SEL across three aspects of interactional situations: group size, type of activity, and type of teaching opportunity. More opportunities for SEL were afforded in small group versus whole group activities and more often in outdoor play and planned lesson times than when children were in learning centers, at mealtimes, or making transitions between activities. Intentional teaching also afforded more opportunities for SEL as compared to incidental teaching. Teachers adopted a variety of verbal and non-verbal strategies to support SEL that included setting a positive tone, suggesting solutions, allocating tasks, and extending on responses. This research provides knowledge about how, and in what interactional situations, teachers demonstrate SEL support to individuals and groups of children in kindergarten classrooms.

Keywords

Social emotional learning Kindergarten Teacher–child interactions Teacher strategies 

Résumé

Chaque jour, beaucoup de jeunes enfants passent une partie significative de leur temps dans un milieu préscolaire. Il est important de comprendre comment les enseignants créent et maximisent les occasions d’apprentissage social et émotionnel (ASÉ) pour les enfants dans les classes. Cette recherche a été menée à Singapour et explore comment l‘ASÉ est soutenu par les enseignants dans des domaines identifiés du curriculum national (conscience de soi et concept de soi positif, autogestion, conscience sociale, gestion des relations et prise de décision responsable). Les analyses qualitatives s’appuient sur des observations faites dans six classes préscolaires. Dans 32 cas, les enseignants apportaient leur soutien à l‘ASÉ selon trois aspects de situations interactionnelles: la taille du groupe, le type d’activité et le type d’opportunité d’enseignement. Des occasions d’ASÉ étaient davantage offertes dans les activités en petit groupe qu’en groupe entier, et plus souvent en jeu extérieur et en période de leçons planifiées que lorsque les enfants étaient en centres d’apprentissage, aux repas, ou en transition entre les activités. L’enseignement intentionnel offrait également plus d’opportunités d’ASÉ que l’enseignement occasionnel. Les enseignants adoptaient diverses stratégies verbales et non verbales pour soutenir l‘ASÉ, notamment donner un ton positif, suggérer des solutions, attribuer des tâches et développer les réponses. Cette recherche fournit des connaissances sur la façon dont les enseignants font preuve de soutien à l‘ASÉ des individus et des groupes d’enfants en classe maternelle, et dans quelles situations interactionnelles.

Resumen

Muchos niños pasan una parte significativa del día en educación infantil. Así, es importante entender cómo los profesores crean y maximizan oportunidades para el desarrollo socio-emocional en las clases. La presente investigación fue realizada en Singapur y explora cómo el aprendizaje socio-emocional es promovido por los profesores en determinadas áreas identificadas en el curriculum nacional (conciencia de uno mismo y concepto positivo, autorregulación, conciencia social, manejo de las relaciones, y responsabilidad en la toma de decisiones). Los análisis cualitativos se realizaron sobre observaciones en seis clases de educación infantil. Se identificaron 32 ocasiones en las que los profesores fomentaron el aprendizaje socio-emocional. Estas ocasiones fueron clasificadas de acuerdo a tres aspectos: tamaño del grupo, tipo de actividad, tipo de oportunidad de enseñanza. Así, se identificaron un mayor número de apoyos en grupos pequeños que en grupos numerosos mayor número de apoyos cuando se realizaban actividades al aire libre o estaban planificadas para cuando los niños estaban en centros de aprendizaje o durante los momentos relacionados con la comida o las transiciones entre actividades. La enseñanza afrontó más oportunidades para el desarrollo socio-emocional, en comparación con aquellas enseñanzas incidentales. Los profesores adoptaron una variedad de estrategias verbales y no verbales para fomentar el aprendizaje socio-emocional que incluyeron, por ejemplo, mantener un tono positivo, sugerir soluciones, distribuir tareas, y elaborar respuestas. Este estudio contribuye al conocimiento sobre el cómo y en qué tipo de interacciones los profesores de educación infantil contribuyen al desarrollo socio-emocional de los niños en educación infantil.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was funded by the Education Research Funding Programme, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Project No. OER 09/14RB. The views expressed in this paper are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of NIE.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Education, Centre for Research in Child DevelopmentNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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