Academic Achievement Increased

In this article Dr Geoff Plimmer outlines how a particular model of teaching emotional coping and social skills (Socio-Emotional Learning) has helped to improve academic achievement and reduceng truancy and cutting anti-social behaviour in New Zealand.

oung adults are often pathologised as dangerous and unworthy. This helps existing power structures and mutes calls for innovation by deflecting attention from how schools can better serve their learners. Consequently teachers remain unsatisfied because they are in school environments that are often unresponsive to student needs. In this article Ill outline my own experience of developing student engagement approaches and what it is like to implement them in schools.

This article is political. It undermines calls for the education system to return to “basics”, and instead argues for socio- emotional learning (SEL) as a means of engagement. Teaching emotional coping and social skills to school-aged youths is an effective means of improving academic achievement, reducing truancy and cutting anti-social behaviour, according to a review article in the American Psychologist (Greenberg et al., 2003). But changing practices in schools can be very difficult to do, because of the weight of practical, historical and cultural pressure to resist innovation.

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