Academic journal article Teacher Education Quarterly

Challenges and Opportunities of Infusing Social, Emotional, Amd Cultural Competencies into Teacher Preparation: One Program's Story

Academic journal article Teacher Education Quarterly

Challenges and Opportunities of Infusing Social, Emotional, Amd Cultural Competencies into Teacher Preparation: One Program's Story

Article excerpt

Introduction

Educators and policy makers have long recognized the need to address children's social-emotional health early in a student's schooling. The state of Ohio, where our program is located has had preschool standards for social-emotional learning in place since 2012. More recently however, there has been a recognition that attention to social-emotional health must continue throughout the preK-12 educational spectrum. In Ohio, standards for social-emotional learning for Grades K-12 recently were established (Ohio Department of Education [ODE], 2019b). In addition, Ohio has included social-emotional learning as one of its four domains of learning in its current strategic plan for education in the state (ODE, 2019a). As schools and local and state education agencies recognize the importance of social-emotional learning and implement such programs schoolwide, it becomes important that teacher candidates leave their teacher education programs ready to contribute to these efforts.

The need for social-emotional competencies, however, does not stop at high school graduation. Indeed college students' success is only partially predicted by academic ability. Noncognitive factors have a strong relationship with adjustment to college, student retention, and academic achievement (Han, Farruggia, & Moss, 2017; Parker et al., 2005; Petrides, Fredrickson, & Furnham, 2004; Yansaputria & Wijaya, 2017). The transition to college necessitates forging new relationships, cooperating, and responding constructively to conflict across differences. Competence in forming connections and face-to-face relationships with peers, staff, and faculty is central to college success (Chambliss & Takacs, 2014). Perseverance and a growth mind-set are also strong predictors of college students' academic achievement (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007; Kool, Mainhard Jaarsma, van Beukelen, & Brekelmans, 2019). College students who hold a growth mind-set assume that their intellectual ability is malleable and expandable rather than innate and fixed (Yeager & Dweck, 2012). Such students are more likely to overcome barriers and obstacles in academic and social settings (Elias & MacDonald 2007; Honicke & Broadbent, 2016) and to seek out and gain academic and social support from peer networks (Zander, Brouwer, Jansen, Crayen, & Hannover, 2018). The ability to self-reflect also has been shown to impact undergraduate students' academic achievement (Ghanizadeh, 2017). Practicing mindfulness, for example, promotes emotional self-regulation (MacDonald & Baxter, 2017), stress reduction (Canby, Cameron, Calhoun, & Buchanan, 2015), and everyday resiliency among college students (Ramasubramanian, 2017).

The social-emotional competencies that help them succeed may also lower incidences of anxiety and depression among college students. In recent years, the prevalence of anxiety and depression has increased steeply on college campuses (Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 2018). For example, students with lower quality social support are more likely to experience mental health problems, especially depressive symptoms (Hefner & Eisenberg, 2009). Mindfulness has been found to decrease college students' depressive symptoms, anxiety, stress, and coping-related alcohol consumption (Bamber & Schneider, 2016; Bravo, Pearson, Stevens, & Henson, 2016; Falsafi, 2016). In the context of teacher education, social-emotional learning embedded in teacher preparation programs promises benefits after graduation for the now in-service teacher and his or her P-12 students. A study found that teachers who develop SEL skills experience better mental health and more effective teaching (Flook, Goldberg, Pinger, Bonus, & Davidson, 2013). Therefore it is also important that schools of education begin to follow the lead of K--12 programs and implement social-emotional learning to support their teacher candidates. …

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