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Personal and social capability

Background

This background summarises the evidence base from which the Personal and social capability’s introduction, organising elements and learning continuum have been developed. It draws on recent international and national research, as well as initiatives and programs that focus on personal and social capability across the curriculum.

The domain of personal and social learning is not new, despite changes to nomenclature, definitions and understandings over the past century. In 1920, Thorndike identified ‘social intelligence’ as an important facet of intelligence. Since then, many researchers and educators, including Moss and Hunt (1927), Vernon (1933), Wechsler (1940), Gardner (1983), Salovey and Mayer (1990), Seligman (1998) and Goleman (1995, 1998, 2006), have explored this concept, each contributing to current understandings of this domain. Importantly, recent contributors have emphasised the ability to develop and improve personal and social capability both as adults and as children. Development of personal and social learning can provide a way for students with disability to access age-equivalent content and promote student learning, self-confidence and independence (Wehmeyer et al 2007, 2012; Malow 2012).

Two contributors have been particularly significant to recent developments in personal and social learning as a competence or capability in school education. Gardner’s (1983) Frames of Mind: the theory of multiple intelligences broadened notions of intelligence, introducing and popularising the concepts of intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence, which represented two of his eight intelligences. More recently, Goleman further popularised the concepts of emotional intelligence (1995) and social intelligence (2006) in educational discourse.

In 1994, Goleman and others founded the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). Since then, CASEL has been the world’s leading organisation in advancing understandings, research, networks, curriculum, school practice and public policy in the area of personal and social learning.

CASEL’s evidence-based approach and definitions of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) are the best known and most highly respected in the world today, and provide an excellent framework for integrating the academic, emotional and social dimensions of learning.

Most educational programs around the world that integrate social and emotional learning are based on CASEL’s SEL framework. This framework is also drawn upon and referenced by various personal, interpersonal and social curriculum in Australian states and territories, and by programs such as MindMatters, KidsMatter and Response Ability.

While some differences emerge within the literature about how personal and emotional learning should be named, constructed and taught, and different organisations also include some additional categories, it is widely accepted that a Personal and social capability will always include a minimum foundation of the four interrelated and non-sequential organising elements – Self-awareness, Self-management, Social awareness and Social management – used in the Personal and social capability learning continuum.

The capability has also been richly informed by understandings gained through the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools (DEEWR 2005), and the resultant Values education initiatives in all areas of Australian schooling. In addition, the Melbourne Declaration on Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA, p. 5) states that ‘a school’s legacy to young people should include national values of democracy, equity and justice, and personal values and attributes such as honesty, resilience and respect for others’. While Values education is certainly found in the Personal and social capability, it is also located within other general capabilities, such as Ethical understanding.

References

Beveridge, A. 2010, Report: General capabilities – social competence, Hay Group (commissioned by ACARA, unpublished).

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in Schools: http://casel.org (accessed 9 October 2011).

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 2005, National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools: www.curriculum.edu.au/values/val_national_framework_for_values_education,8757.html(accessed 9 October 2011).

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 2010, National Safe Schools Framework – draft, ACT, Australia: www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/NationalSafeSchools/Pages/nationalsafeschoolsframework.aspx (accessed 9 October 2011).

Department of Health and Ageing 2010, KidsMatter: Australian primary schools mental health initiative: www.kidsmatter.edu.au/primary/ (accessed 9 October 2011).

Department of Health and Ageing 2010, MindMatters: www.mindmatters.edu.au/default.asp (accessed 9 October 2011).

Department of Health and Ageing, implemented by Hunter Institute of Mental Health in partnership with universities and tertiary educators, Response Ability: www.responseability.org/site/index.cfm (accessed 9 October 2011).

Gardner, H. 1983, Frames of Mind: the theory of multiple intelligences, Basic Books, New York.

Goleman, D. 1995, Emotional Intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ, Bantam, New York.

Goleman, D. 1998, Working with Emotional Intelligence, Bantam, New York.

Goleman, D. 2006, Social Intelligence: the new science of human relationships, Hutchinson, London.

Malow, M. (2012) Self-discipline: The developmental seeds of pro-social behaviour. Strategies for Successful Learning, 5 (3), January 2013 http://www.ldworldwide.org/educators/strategies-for-successful-learning/1027-self-discipline-the-developmental-seeds-of-pro-social-behavior (accessed 12 March 2013)

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training & Youth Affairs, 2008, Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians: www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration_on_the_Educational_Goals_for_Young_Australians.pdf (accessed 9 October 2011).

Moss, F.A. & Hunt, T. 1927, ‘Are you socially intelligent?’, Scientific American, 137.

Rochat, P. (2003) Five levels of self-awareness as they unfold early in life. Consciousness and Cognition, 12 (4), 717-731. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053810003000813 (accessed 8 March 2013)

Salovey, P. & Mayer, J. 1990, ‘Emotional Intelligence’, Imagination, Cognition, and Personality 9, Baywood Publishing Company, Inc., pp. 185–211.

Seligman, M. 1998, Learned Optimism: how to change your mind and your life, 2nd edn, Pocket Books, New York.

Shogren, K. (2013). Self-determination and transition planning. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

Thorndike, E.L. 1920, ‘Intelligence and its use’, Harper’s Magazine, no. 140, pp. 227–235.

Topping, K. Promoting social competence: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/eswce/research/projects/socialcompetence/ (accessed 8 March 2013)

Vernon, P.E. 1933, ‘Some characteristics of the good judge of personality’, Journal of Social Psychology, 4, pp. 42–57

Wechsler, D. 1940, ‘Non-intellective Factors in General Intelligence’, Psychological Bulletin, 37, pp. 444–445

Wehmeyer, M., Agran, M., Hughes, C., Palmer, S., Mithaug, D., & Martin, J. (2007). Promoting self-determination and student-directed learning for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. New York: Guilford.

Wehmeyer, M., Shogren, K., Palmer, S., Williams-Diehm,K., Little, T., Boulton, A. (2012). The impact of the self-determined learning model of instruction on student self-determination. Council for Exceptional Children, Vol 78, No. 2, pages 135-153.

Welsh Assembly Government (2008) Personal and social development, well-being and cultural diversity. http://wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/earlyyearshome/foundation_phase/parentscarers/childlearn/sevenareas/personaldiversity/?lang=en (accessed 8 March 2013)

Welsh Assembly Government. Personal and social education for learners with severe learning difficulties and profound and multiple learning difficulties.

http://new.wales.gov.uk/psesub/home/resources/documents/pselearners/?lang=en (accessed 5 February 2013)

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