Academic journal article International Journal of Emotional Education

Social and Emotional Learning in the Greek Educational System: An Ithaca Journey

Academic journal article International Journal of Emotional Education

Social and Emotional Learning in the Greek Educational System: An Ithaca Journey

Article excerpt

Introduction

Social-emotional learning is a fundamental prerequisite for the positive adjustment and the well-being of school community members. It involves children's and adults' acquisition and effective application of the necessary knowledge, attitudes, and skills for emotional understanding and management, positive goals setting, empathy expression, positive relationships development and responsible decision-making (CASEL, 2012). It has roots in a progressive educational tradition as well as the primary prevention and social competence promotion literature within psychology, and it is centered on promoting children's social and emotional well-being (Kress & Elias, 2006). Most of the characteristics that have been used to describe schools that are resilient, effective, or caring communities refer to emotions and relationships among the members of the school community. Furthermore, resilient classrooms promote academic efficacy, behavioral self-control, teacher-student relationships, peer collaboration, and home-school collaboration (Doll, Zucker & Brehm, 2004/2009; Hatzichristou, 2015a). Therefore, it is critical to develop empirically based interventions that promote children's psychosocial adjustment and well-being, and decrease aggression, bullying and antisocial behavior (Hatzichristou, 2015a; Hatzichristou, Polychroni, Issari, & Yfanti, 2011).

The recent emphasis on resilience, effective schools, and social emotional learning are reflected in changes in school psychological practice and service delivery throughout the world (Hatzichristou, 2011a; 2015a). Several SEL intervention programs are implemented in the schools across the world, such as the U.S.A. (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor & Schellinger, 2011), Great Britain (Humphrey et al., 2008), Sweden (Kimber, Sandell & Bremberg, 2008), Australia, Canada, Israel, Singapore, and Latin America among others (e.g. Clouder et al., 2013), focusing on the promotion of psychosocial competence, adversity prevention, and adjustment facilitation for students in various settings.

During the last two decades, a relevant evolution has been evident also in Greece (Hatzichristou, 2011a; 2015a; Hatzichristou, Lampropoulou, Lykitsakou, & Dimitropoulou, 2010). The Center for Research and Practice of School Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens became the main developer and coordinator of SEL intervention programs in the country. Social and emotional learning was incorporated in the university curriculum, becoming one of the essential training skills for future psychologists, primary and secondary school teachers and school psychologists. The establishment of CRSPS has helped to link theory, research, training of students, implementation of intervention programs in schools as well as providing a link between university, schools, professional associations, and institutions (Hatzichristou, Lampropoulou et al., 2010; Hatzichristou & Polychroni, 2014).

The purpose of this article is to present the foundation of CRSPS through its multiple phases and to delineate the SEL-based intervention programs that have been designed, implemented and evaluated over these years in various Greek and international settings. Additionally, the incorporation of SEL in the university curriculum is presented, focusing on undergraduate and graduate studies.

Promotion of school-wellbeing conceptual framework in the context of alternative school psychology services

The lack of school psychological services in the Greek public schools presented a unique opportunity and a great challenge for the development of alternative service delivery models (Hatzichristou, 1998; 2002; 2004a; Hatzichristou & Lampropoulou, 2004). First, a conceptual framework was presented incorporating science and professional practice competencies (Hatzichristou, 1998; 2002), leading to the development of a data-based model of alternative school psychological services to address the needs of school communities and other institutions in Greece (Hatzichristou, 2004a). …

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