The Mechner Foundation and the team at Queens Paideia School are currently in the process of designing and testing a preliminary set of SEL interventions using behavioral learning principles, rather than passive learning methods. New software allows the creation of self-instructional exercises that teachers can assign to students according to needs identified by CLASSESS, our existing social-emotional evaluation software. These ARC (Achievement-Related Competency) modules are individual learning units, each structured around a specific SEL competency or skill, delivered through instructional software that the student can access on a tablet or laptop. Children work through interactive episodes in which stylized cartoon characters encounter social and emotional challenges. At certain points in the scenarios, students must record active oral responses before the video continues. The narrator can prompt such responses and model thinking skills for the student. Skills are learned in relation to specific situations, then generalized to other, similar, situations. Children may complete these learning modules working alone, with a partner, or in a group. After having completed a module and recorded the oral responses, they can review and discuss the module with a coach, teacher, or parent. Results of initial one-on-one testing with elementary-age children will be presented and discussed.
|Abstract: Most socio-emotional skills are applicable in interpersonal interaction. All skill learning requires active responding. During learning, the targeted skilled behavior being practiced must occur in training situations that are similar to the targeted real-life situations in which the desired skilled behavior will ultimately be occurring, and it must be fluent. This theory dates back to the “audio-lingual” sales training method “Professional Selling Skills (PSS)” developed by Mechner and associates in 1962-65. It simulated sales situations, complete with a videotaped prospective customer. The trainees were challenged to respond orally as if they were interacting with that customer. They practiced the desired responses in situation after situation, each somewhat different from the others, until the skill was fluent. This same behavioral analysis guided our approach to socio-emotional skill learning for school use. Students are presented with vignettes of interpersonal situations on digital devices, like tablets. A recorded moderator coaches the learner to respond orally at key points. Those oral responses are recorded for subsequent review and possible improvement by the learner, or subsequently by a teacher. Learners achieve fluency by repeatedly uttering the desired oral responses in a succession of diverse situations that define the targeted real-life situations in which the responses would be appropriate.