“Seed” Project for 2021/22

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“Seed” Project for 2021/22

Building Character through Characters:

Implementing Social and Emotional Learning in the English Language Classroom

through Stories

Project code: NT1321 NET Section, CDI, EDB


What is Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)?



SEL is …

acquire the knowledge,

skills and attitudes

to develop healthy identities

to manage emotions and achieve personal and

collective goals to feel and show empathy for others to establish and maintain

supportive relationships to make responsible and

caring decisions

apply them

The process through which

all young people and adults

an integral part of education

and human development



The 5 core competencies of SEL

• Self-awareness

• Self-management

• Social awareness

• Relationship skills

• Responsible decision-making


CASEL’s SEL Framework to develop healthy


to manage emotions and achieve personal and

collective goals to feel and show empathy for others

to establish and maintain supportive relationships

to make responsible and caring decisions


What are the SEL needs of our students?



Why does SEL matter?

… A great deal of research over the last several decades has demonstrated the benefits of social and emotional skills, documenting effects on positive academic, interpersonal, and mental health outcomes.

Research shows that classrooms function more effectively and students learning increases when children have the skills to focus their attention, manage negative emotions, navigate relationships with peers and adults, and persist in the face of difficulty (e.g., Ladd, Birch & Buhs, 1999; Raver, 2002).

Children who are able to effectively manage their thinking, attention, and behaviour are also more likely to have better grades and higher standardised test scores (Blair & Razza, 2007; Bull et al., 2008; Epsy et al., 2004; Howse, Lange et al., 2003; McClelland et al., 2007; Pointz et al., 2008), while those with strong social skills are more likely to make and sustain friendships, initiate positive relationships with teachers, participate in classroom activities, and be positively engaged in learning (Denham, 2006).

Jones, S., Brush, K., Bailey, R., Brion-Meisels, G., Mclntyre, J., Kahn, J., Nelson, B., & Stickle, L. (2017). Navigating SEL from the inside out. Harvard Graduate School of Education.



OECD’s Study on Social and Emotional Skills

Research shows that both cognitive, and social and emotional skills improve life outcomes at a societal and an individual level.

Considerable information exists on the development of cognitive skills but is lacking for social and emotional skills.

There is a large body of empirical evidence about the importance of social and emotional skills for successfully navigating one’s life.

Social and emotional skills not only influence life outcomes directly (for example, good social competence helps people successfully negotiate job interviews), but also their persistent and cumulative effects on other attributes, including cognitive skills.

Why do we promote SEL?



Objectives of the project

• explore different ways to scaffold students’ reading and responding to story characters that are conducive to the development of the core competencies of SEL

• design, conduct and review English learning activities based on fiction or real life stories selected for students to develop positive values and apply SEL skills

• identify suitable children literature with characters that lend themselves to the discussion of attitudes, challenges and feelings in support of SEL

• engage participating teachers in developing, using and reviewing strategies for developing students’ SEL skills (e.g. role plays, visualisation exercises, behavioural rehearsals)

• develop teachers’ ability to identify assessment goals and review strategies or tools for assessing the SEL of students

Story Characters



We hope to find out …

• What pedagogical approaches and learning activities are effective in supporting students’ SEL?

• How can SEL be implemented and promoted through using stories in the English language classroom?

• How can teachers be empowered to support SEL of students?


Alignment with the

English Language Education curriculum


Alignment with the

English Language Education curriculum

• Schools are encouraged to:

promote the development of strategies, values and attitudes that are conducive to effective, self- directed, independent and lifelong learning (p.7);

focus on strengthening values education through the use of a wide array of learning and teaching resources which provide contexts for students to explore a wealth of value-laden issues and stimuli for critical and imaginative responses (p.9)

• Among the learning objectives for ELEKLA, the language development strategies, literary competence development strategies and attitudes specific to language and literature learning are especially relevant to the development of the generic skills, and the personal and social values and attitudes broadly recognized and valued in all KLAs (p.26).



Self-awareness and Self-management

• Self-confidence and self-motivation are key predictors of students’ language achievement.

• Integration of SEL skills like strength recognition and stress management support language learning.

Social awarenes

• Effective writing and speaking depends on writer’s/speaker’s ability to take the perspective of a reader/listener.

• Characters in literature represent different perspectives.

• Perspective taking is an essential skill in written/spoken communication.

Relationship Skills

• Discussion tasks and language arts activities lend themselves readilly to the

development speaking & listening skills as well as communication and teamwork skills.

Responsible Decision-making

• Task-based approach in ELE promotes experiential learning and authentic language use in real life where situations need to be analysed to identify problems before decisions are made on effective solutions.

Adapted from Examples of Social and Emotional Learning in High School ELA Instruction – August 2017

Why do we integrate SEL in English Language learning?


Mastery of SEL

knowledge &


(S) Sequenced and well- connected steps with a clearly defined path

(A) Active student

engagement in the form of experiential learning

(F) Focused development of a couple of SEL skills with multiple practice opportunities

(E) Explicit plans with time and resources dedicated to SEL


How do we promote SEL in the

English Language classroom? (S.A.F.E.R. Model)

Adapted from Blyth, Olson & Walker, 2017; Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor & Schellinger, 2011

(R) Reflection on

• the connection of SEL to other parts of our lives

• the necessary

growth areas and the relevance of SEL support/




How do we promote SEL in the English Language classroom


(Effective instructional practices for developing SEL skills)

Jones, S., Brush, K., Bailey, R., Brion-Meisels, G., Mclntyre, J., Kahn, J., Nelson, B., & Stickle, L. (2017).

discussion tasks/

activities writing tasks/

activities vocabulary


role-play activities

use of visual display use of videos

use of songs use of games

drawing tasks/

activities art/ creative projects

didactic instruction

SEL tools/

handouts teacher choice kinesthetic activities

use of books/


skill practice


How to build character through characters?

• Identifying teachable moments…



Focusing on character transformation …

Reading skills focus:

To identify details that support the gist or main ideas



Everyday Decisions

change your habits

change your


40-45 % of everyday decisions are based on our


Introducing relevant SEL tool

Relating character

transformation to the SEL tool

Example 1


Book title:

Square Eyes Author:

Karen Tayleur

Adapted from Duhigg, C. (2014)


Applying the SEL tool


Adapted from Duhigg, C. (2014)


… to promote self-management.

How did the character motivate self and keep moving to achieve the goal at different points?

How well did the character cope with stress or adversity in the story?

How did the character react to …?

Would you have the same reaction?

What emotional management

strategies could the character have put into place for themselves?


• the abilities to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and

behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations.

• includes the capacities to delay gratification, manage stress, and feel motivation and agency to accomplish personal and collective goals


Managing one’s emotions

Identifying and using stress management

strategies Exhibiting self-discipline

and self- motivation



Focusing on points of view of the writer or the characters …



Introducing relevant SEL tool Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Applying SEL skills Accepting Differences


Book title:

Elmer Author:

David Mckee


Example 2



Embracing Diversity: Being similar and being different

We are all similar and different. We may like the same or different things. We can connect with others when we have similarities or differences. Choose a classmate and complete the table below.



… to promote social awareness.

When have you felt the same as the main character?

How did the characters show respect for one another

despite the differences?

How were you different to your classmates?

Was there any moment that you misunderstood your family


Social awareness

• The abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathise with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and contexts.

• includes the capacities to feel compassion for others,

understand broader historical and social norms for behavior in different settings, and recognise family, school, and community resources and supports


Recognising strengths in


Taking others’


Demonstrating empathy and




Focusing on the protagonist or antagonist of a story…

Reading skills focus:

To locate specific

information in response to questions



… to promote self-awareness.

How did you know the

character was feeling sad?

How would you feel if you were the main character?

Do you think you have the same quality as the


I wish I could be as XXX as the character because …


• the abilities to understand

one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they

influence behavior across contexts

• includes capacities to recognise one’s strengths and limitations with a well-grounded sense of confidence and purpose


Identifying one’s emotion

Experiencing self efficacy

Having a growth mindset



Focusing on characterisation …

Reading skills focus: To understand

intention, attitudes and feelings conveyed in a text by recognising features such as choice and use of language and images



… to promote relationship skills .

How did the characters communicate with one another?

What are other ways the character could have communicated better? Do you have the same problem?

What strategies did the character use to resolve conflicts? What would you do if you were in a conflict with one another.

Relationship skills

• the abilities to establish and

maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups

• include the capacities to communicate clearly, listen actively, cooperate, work

collaboratively to problem solve and negotiate conflict

constructively, navigate settings with differing social and cultural demands and opportunities, provide leadership, and seek or offer help when needed.


Communicating effectively and

developing positive relationship

Resolving conflicts constructively



Focusing on the character’s reactions as the plot develops …

Reading skills focus:

To understand

intention, attitudes and feelings conveyed in a text



… to promote responsible decision-making .

What was the tough decision the character had to make in the

story? Why was it difficult?

Is it a difficult decision to you?

What are some things the character could have done

better in making the decision in the story?

What else could the characters have done to solve the problem?

Responsible decision-making

• the abilities to make caring and constructive choices

about personal behavior and social interactions across

diverse situations

• includes the capacities to

consider ethical standards and safety concerns, and to

evaluate the benefits and consequences of various actions for personal, social, and collective well-being


Anticipating and evaluating the consequences of

one’s actions

Reflecting on one’s role to promote personal, family, and community well-being



Connecting characters’ lives with students’ lives





Teacher Report

Self- report

Direct Assessment



Direct Behaviour


Identifying Assessment Goals and SEL of Students

Clark, M. (2019) https://www.freepik.com/


Project timeline 2021/22

Jun – Jul 2021 Setting up the support

Aug – Nov 2021 Professional Development

Baseline observation and data collection Oct 2021 – Jan 2022 Co-planning for trial lessons

Feb – May 2022 Implementation May – Jun 2022 Review

Data collection



School commitment: A Growth Mindset

There is a difference between NOT KNOWING and


Sheila Tobias


School commitment: P-I-E-S


to allocate adequate co- planning time for designing suitable lesson activities for students


to try out the planned lessons


to evaluate the effectiveness of the lesson

activities in promoting students’ SEL


to share with other schools their Seed project experience



Personnel involved in the “Seed” Project

Support from the School Senior Management

Project Teachers, including the


School Project Coordinator

Advisory Teachers (ATs) from NET Section



Application details and procedures

Please refer to Appendix C of the EDB Circular Memorandum No. 4/2021

Closing date for application 10 March 2021

School Application Form to be completed in duplicate by School Heads and sent to:

EDB Human Resources Management Unit at 4/F,

East Wing,

Central Government Offices, 2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar





Mr Edward LAI

Life-wide Learning Section, Curriculum Development Institute, Education Bureau

(Tel: 2892 5824) Project-related Ms Carol PANG

Native-speaking English Teacher Section, Curriculum Development Institute, Education Bureau

(Tel: 3549 8336)


NET Scheme e-platform




One child, one teacher, One book, one pen

can change the world.

Malala Yousafzai




Blair, C., & Razza, R. P. (2007). Relating effortful control, executive function, and false belief understanding to emerging math and literacy ability in kindergarten. Child Development, 78(2), 647-663.

Blyth, Dale; Olson, Brandi; Walker, Kate. (2017). Ways of Being: A Model for Social & Emotional Learning. University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development.

Bull, R., Espy, K. A., & Wiebe, S. A. (2008). Short-term memory, working memory, and executive functioning in preschoolers: Longitudinal predictors of mathematical achievement at age 7 years. Developmental Neuropsychology, 33(3), 205-228.

CDC English Language Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 - Secondary 6) 2017


Clark, M. (2019). Assessing Students' Social and Emotional Learning: A Guide to Meaningful Measurement (SEL Solutions Series) W. W. Norton, Incorporated

Denham, S. A. (2006). Social-emotional competence as support for school readiness: What is it and how do we assess it? Early Education and Development, Special Issue: Measurement of School Readiness, 17, 57-89.

Duhigg, C. (2014). The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Random House USA Inc.

Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, R.P., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., & Schellinger, K.B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405-432.


Examples of Social and Emotional Learning in High School English Language Arts Instruction https://www.casel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/SEL-in-High-School-ELA-8-20-17.pdf

Howse, R. B., Lange, G., Farran, D. C., & Boyles, C. D. (2003). Motivation and self-regulation as predictors of achievement in economically disadvantaged young children. The Journal of Experimental Education, 71(2), 151-174.

Jones, S., Brush, K., Bailey, R., Brion-Meisels, G., Mclntyre, J., Kahn, J., Nelson, B., & Stickle, L. (2017). Navigating SEL from the inside out. Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Ladd, G. W., Birch, S. H., & Buhs, E. S. (1999). Children’s social and scholastic lives in kindergarten: Related spheres of influence? Child Development, 70(6), 1373-1400.

McClelland, M. M., Cameron, C. E., Connor, C. M., Farris, C. L., Jewkes, A. M., & Morrison, F. J. (2007). Links between behavioral regulation and preschoolers’ literacy, vocabulary, and math skills.

Developmental Psychology, 43(4), 947-959.

OECD Study on Social and Emotional Skills


Ponitz, C. E. C., McClelland, M. M., Jewkes, A. M., Connor, C. M., Farris, C. L., & Morrison, F. J. (2008). Touch your toes! Developing a direct measure of behavioral regulation in early childhood. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23(2), 141-158.

Raver, C. C. (2002). Emotions matter: Making the case for the role of young children’s emotional development for early school readiness. Social Policy Report, 16(3), 3-19.

SEL: What Are the Core Competence Areas and Where are they Promoted?


SEL is



Q & A Session







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