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Promoting social and emotional learning with games: its fun and we learn things
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2009
Source ID: shanti-sources-107211
Abstract: This article has two broad objectives: (a) It reviews the theoretical and practical literature on the use of games to facilitate social and emotional learning (SEL). (b) Based on this review, it argues that games are a powerful way of developing social and emotional learning in young people. In addition, we draw on our collective experience as educational psychologists to identify effective practice when using games to teach SEL. The social and emotional skills needed to play successfully with others are those needed to succeed at work and in adult life. Prosocial skills involve regulating negative emotions, taking turns and sharing, support orientations to others that are fair, just, and respectful. The natural affiliation between children, play, and the desire to have fun with others makes games an ideal vehicle for teaching SEL. Circle Time games are used to support universal programs for teaching SEL to whole classes. Therapeutic board games provide an effective intervention for young people who have been targeted for further guided practice in small group settings. Verbatim quotations from students and teachers demonstrate ways in which SEL has generalized to real-life situations. The role of facilitator is crucial to the success of this approach, both in modeling appropriate skills and making the learning connections for students. In this article, facilitation and debriefing are deconstructed and the value of collaborative, rather than competitive, aspects of games highlighted.