Equipping Secondary Students with Metacognitive and Social-Emotional Competency Skills to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century

Project Number
OER 40/09 JE

Project Duration
April 2010 - February 2014


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 & 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 secondary 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 study, will empower teachers with metacognitive training so that they can infuse SEL in the classroom. As adolescents in Sec 1 and Sec 2 are empowered to be metacognitively conscious of distressing emotions etc., they will be better at self-managing their studies etc. As such, metacognition and SEL will be infused in four subject areas namely, English, Mathematics, Science and Character Education in Sec 1 and Sec 2 students from three ability groups in two schools. A pretest-posttest1-posttest2 comparisons between experimental and control group design will be used to assess the effects of the intervention in the classrooms. Video-recording, observational checklists, interviews, reflection logs, DIT test will be used to assess the thinking and values of the students. In Phase 2, students will be exposed to lifeskills training, CCAs and SEL camps to ascertain if their SEL skills are generalizable across settings. The findings are significant in providing better understanding of the effects of metacognition and SEL on different ability groups' 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.

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