Empowering Metacognition Through Social-Emotional Learning

Project Number
OER 18/09 JE

Project Duration
September 2009 - September 2013


Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) refers to students' "acquisition of skills to recognise and manage emotions, develop care and concern for others, make responsible decisions, establish positive relationships, and handle challenging situations effectively" (CASEL, 2005). Zins et al., (2004) also found improvement in academic attitudes and behaviors (e.g.attendance, study habits, cooperative learning) and performance whilst Weissberg et al (in press) found even decreasing rates of violence, aggression, disciplinary referrals, and substance use and Greenhalgh (1994); Weissberg & Elias (1993); Sylvester (1995); Mayer and Salovey (2001) found students were better at managing their emotions and cognitive processes. SEL is formally introduced by the Ministry of Education in Singapore to raise not only academic success but also students' SEL competencies so that they will inculcate good values and be responsible workers and citizens of tomorrow. However, to date, no research has been done to assess the effectiveness of SEL in Singapore schools. According to Zins et al. (2004), metacognition is a good mediator for enhancing SEL. As metacognition is thinking about thinking, the more students are aware of their thinking processes as they learn, the more they can control their goals, dispositions, and behaviour. According to Marzano et al. (1988), self-awareness promotes self-regulation, that is, if students are aware of their commitment in reaching goals and their disposition to persist which may be determined by their self-concept, and of how focused is their attention to a task, they can regulate their commitment, disposition, and behaviour. As SEL is still a relatively a new initiative in Singapore, this exploratory pilot study, will empower teachers with metacognitive training so that they can infuse SEL in the classroom. Pupils from two primary 4 average ability schools will be given a pretest-posttest1-posttest2 comparisons between experimental and control groups to assess the effects of the intervention in English, Social Studies and Science classrooms. Video-recording, observational checklists, interviews, reflection logs and other measures will be used to assess the thinking and values of the students. The findings are significant in providing better understanding of the effects of metacognition and SEL on average primary ability students' performance and other accompanied variables e.g. values, self-concept and SEL competencies. The findings will not only assist understanding of the relationships among these variables but also implications on planning future directions for programmes in schools as well as teacher education.

Research Themes
Applied Cognitive Development & Motivational Studies

Funding Source

Related Links
ReEd Vol 5: Life Lessons in Resilience

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