The array of researches in the field agrees on certain crucial aspects of the child’s social lieu which are the contributing factors to the development Of a sense Of well being. There is consonance among researchers with regards to the positive contributing factors. A safe and secure home environment with consistent parenting and an opportunity to express feelings without the accompanying feeling of guilt or fear are the building blocks for emotional and social well being in children.
Enhancing resilience and positive coping can be of significance for promoting social and emotional maturity. Studies have proved beyond doubt that children’s emotional, social and behavioral adjustments are as important for school success as cognitive and academic preparedness (River and Ziegler 2000). Children who have difficulty in paying attention, following teacher’s directions, getting along with others and controlling negative emotions do less well in school( Coleman 1997) and are rejected by classmates and receive a negative feedback from the teachers.
The researches on the protective factors do focus on the “dynamic” (Luther 2000) process of resilience or adaptability in face of challenges-I would like to emphasize that children or individuals who have the ability to change or old the environment as per their needs for adjustment seem to be the most resilient and well adjusted in their social setting . Any scientific enquiry needs to operational and define the key concepts.
In the paper I would like to use the term emotional well being from the perspective of positive psychology as an individual child’s ability to enjoy life, be happy and well adjusted in different social settings. Emotional well being is not the absence of emotions but the ability to understand the value of your emotion and use them to move your life forward in positive direction. A well being is a state hat describes the happiness, confidence, contentment and ability of the child to use his/her potential in a productive manner in academic as well as in interpersonal relations.
The ability to understand relationship and the skill is helpful in fulfilling the needs for safety, love, and self- esteem This in turn helps an individual in achieving a happy State Of mind and satisfaction in relationships. In addition to reading, writing and arithmetic the importance of handling relationships in a positive manner does have an impact on the child’s ability and plays a crucial role in any learning situation. Emotions are known to alter thinking in many ways.
The emotions belong to that sphere of mental functioning which includes the BACKGROUND the empirical research on social and emotional well being in children has burgeoned in recent years emphasizing on the need to identify certain crucial aspect in the child’s environment, interaction patterns with the care givers and other significant adults with a view to focus on enhancing the child’s abilities to recognize and manage their emotions, appreciate the perspectives of others, establish positive goals, make responsible decisions, ND handle interpersonal situations effectively (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, 2003; Lamaseries & Arsenic, 2000). The social and emotional aspects of the child’s personality seem to be an important determining factor with respect to scholastic and academic performance.
The Social Emotional learning (SELL) is fast becoming an essential part of learning Of education world where families, school and communities work together to promote child’s success in school and life and to support the healthy development of all children It also enhances students’ connection to school wrought caring engaging classroom and school practices (McNealy, Moneymaker, & Plum, 2002; Steersman, 2000). Learning social and emotional skills is similar to learning other academic skills in that the effect of initial learning is enhanced over time to address the increasingly complex situations children face regarding academics, social relationships, citizenship, and health.
Therefore, skills must be developed for negotiating diverse contexts and handling challenges at each developmental level (Heisenberg & Greenberg, 1998). This outcome is best accomplished through effective classroom instruction; tuned engagement in positive activities in and out of the classroom; and broad student, parent, and community involvement in program planning, implementation, and evaluation (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning 2003; Henderson & Map, 2002; Pitman, Ruby, Dolman, Halley, & Ferber, 2001). Ideally, planned, ongoing, systematic, and coordinated SELL instruction should begin in preschool and continue through high school.
The importance being assigned to this aspect of child’s personality trait ( I wish to address social emotional well being as an important personality trait because once the child asters the various skills enhancing the social emotional maturity these skills become an integral part of the child’s personality) in the western world is evident from the fact that there are a large number Of researches funded by many government organizations in order to promote emotional well being and consequently better performance in different spheres by the child. There is no dearth of workshops and training sessions for parents, teachers and other child care professionals empowering them to be able to strengthen children’s skills at managing interpersonal relationships, their emotions and tresses.
Mental health describes either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of a mental From perspectives of the discipline of positive psychology or holism mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life and procure a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience Mental health is an expression of our emotions and signifies a successful adaptation to a range of demands. The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the aroma stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community” It was previously stated that there Was no One “Official” definition Of mental health.
Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how “mental health” is defined. There are different types of mental health problems, some of which are common, such as depression and anxiety disorders, and some not so common, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Most recently, the field of Global Mental Health has emerged, which as been defined as ‘the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving mental health and achieving equity in mental health for all people worldwide’. Well being is a state that describes your happiness, confidence, and your good way of thinking. It is a nice state where you are satisfied and happy.
Stratton ( ) in her work on pre-school children has focused on the issue of emotional well being by stating that it is the ability to strengthen young children’s capacity to manage their emotions and behavior and to make meaningful friendships particularly if they are exposed o multiple life stresses, may serve an important protective function for school success. The intellectual and physical development of a child to a large extent depends a great deal on the genetic disposition. “the psychological dimension which controls and intensifies the child’s development also needs to be considered. However, emotional maturity comes with the correct psychological development which takes place when the individual is given the right ambiance to grow up in, especially in the initial stages of life” ( Ram, IS ) CONCEPT OF EMOTIONAL COMPETENCE refer to use the term emotional competence instead of emotional literacy as I feel that the term competence has a broader connotation.
The term encompasses various facets of emotions and the basic premise of the concept entails the ability to recognize, understand and appropriately express and manage emotions. These skills are supposedly the basis for perceiving and communicating emotions. First of all I would like to state a very important and critical observation: most of us are brought up in a state of emotional ignorance or illiteracy. The child is expected to show competent and repressions behavior in day to day activities. This to a large extent tends to ignore the feelings and emotions of others. In any competitive environment the child / adult is expected to perform, win and excel.
At no juncture the adult stops to think of the ‘other person’ who could not succeed and the child is not very often explained as to how the other child might be feeling who could not be an achiever or a winner. Children are asked to be rational, logical and precise in the cognitive and intellectual domains. Rarely are they encouraged to ponder on their feelings and emotions and labeling the motions is something which is thought to be of no significance by most caregivers and significant adults in the child’s social web. Questions like how do you feel? Are you happy? Is not part of our vocabulary in every day interactions with the child. How can the social and emotional domains be strengthened So that this significant aspect is reinforced which will eventually have other positive benefits for the children.
Any social emotional learning program which aims to make children socially and emotionally mature needs to understand and develop an awareness of individual child’s needs, their Emily background and identifying any problem that the child or the family might be undergoing. To strengthen resilience and positive coping, skills like problem solving abilities, handling stressful situations, verbalizing their feelings and managing interpersonal relations need to be worked on. In the face of challenges and difficulties the child needs to be made aware that the negative reactions like aggression, bitterness, disappointment can hamper further development and progress.
Flexibility in thoughts and actions is needed and an attitude ‘makes appropriate environmental changes to suit our needs’. Psychological maturity is a blessing when the child learns to accept reality without feeling the need to change it. A child who successfully deals with disappointments, failures, ridicule, and hardships develops a greater maturity compared to others who are not exposed to such negative situations. An emotionally and socially competent child learns to recognize and express negative emotions like aggression, guilt, fear, pain and hurt in an appropriate manner. The child is more likely to be able to take the perspective of another and display empathy. In fact, empathy is one of the cost crucial attribute for social and emotional learning.
In the interpersonal domain a socially and emotionally healthy child is warm and has a friendly disposition. The interpersonal relationships are positive as there are fewer fights with peers and verbal aggression is low. The learner displays high levels Of motivation, enthusiasm to learn and is more cooperative in the school setting. These factors are positively related to school related tasks and academic achievement Social emotional learning impacts different spheres of child’s life by enhancing the self esteem, inhibiting aggressive behavior, and evildoing a disposition to learn leading to academic progression and a positive mental health.
Daniel Coleman, the chief proponent of emotional intelligence has always maintained that emotional skills and abilities matter more than the IQ. Understanding the concept of emotional intelligence requires exploring the two component terms emotions and intelligence. The cognitive spheres include functions like memory, reasoning, judgment, logic, abstract thinking and other higher order thought processes. Emotions belong to that sphere of mental functioning which relates to our feelings, moods, and efferent emotional experiences. These affect related experiences are of significance in our social interactions with others. The emotional experiences are vital as these are the building blocks of a relationship.
An emotionally mature person as accepted by most of the psychologists accepts the psychological reality without feeling the need to alter it. The person displays a responsible behavior in different situations is capable of taking decisions and is self reliant. On the contrary an emotionally immature person reacts to difficulties with bitterness, resentment or anger. There is a tendency in such a person to feel victimized or disemboweled ( Such a person lacks resiliency and takes longer to recover from the negative or the threatening situation. This results in loss of precious time which could have otherwise been utilized in some other constructive activity EMPATHY AND WELL BEING .
In psychological literature empathy research has witnessed an increased concern in the last two or three decades as a consequence of Daniel Salesman’s focus on emotional intelligence and the well being agenda. Other fields of studies like History, philosophy, Evolutionary Biology, Cultural tidies, and neural science too have been associated with various facets of empathy. Empathy has been studied as shared emotional response and perspective taking in the realm of Psychology. Tees two aspects are the ‘affective empathy’ and the ‘cognitive empathy. Since time immemorial Philosophers who have concerned themselves with values and moral judgment have evinced empathy as an important constituent of these traits. In the eighteenth century philosopher Adam Smith in his theory of ‘Moral Sentiments’ highlighted perspective taking as an area of major concern.
In early nineteenth century martin Auber explored the idea that humanity and moral action are intertwined with the ability to understand the other person’s view point. Historian Theodore Gelding has emphasized that the most important way of creating empathy is through intimate conversation. He believed that conversation becomes an experience which teaches us how to empathic and human bonds are created that will reduce social conflict and will encourage mutual understanding, respect and cooperation. Study of primates’ ability at role taking and understanding the emotional responses of there of their species has been studied by evolutionary biologists.
Empathy is evident when the person is” able to transcend egocentrics by imagining other person’s point of view frequently leads to modification in behavior, to pro-social activities and the avoidance of aggression” (Life Cohn ) Roman Czarina in his article am you are has focused on five major projects which are being taken up in different countries to foster empathy education in children. The case studies of the following five has programs has been done 1 . Roots of Empathy (ROE) program in Canada where the teacher is a baby 2. Primary years program of the international Baccalaureate 3. Through other Eyes: resources for teaching social studies in the US 4. Social emotional learning program (SEAL) for primary school children in the UK 5. Climate chaos a part of global citizenship curriculum Empathy is one of the core skills which need to be nurtured in any social emotional learning program. Any effort at SELL should focus on conversational empathy and experiential empathy.
Different terminologies like emotional intelligence. Emotional literacy, life skills and resiliency which are used to describe social emotional competence do take empathy into inconsideration and is one of the major constituents of such programs. These ‘soft skills’ as used by Daniel Coleman do influence our relationships and have hard consequences on all spheres of life. Empathy training programs have shown that children who are exposed to such programs are more mature in handling of different situations and display less aggressive behavior like bullying and conflicts and are more pro-social in their interactions with their peers and exhibit cooperation, sharing and caring behavior.
Mary Cordon’s study of children exposed to ROE program has conclusively shown that the hillier were more emotionally mature, displayed pro-social behavior and had the ability to perceive the perspective of others and in fostering relationships compared to children who were not exposed to such a training program. Common human interconnectedness and empathy has revolutionized societies and resulted in historical transformations in the past. Role play and stories have been at the helm of empathy fostering programs worldwide. The programs encourage perspective taking to enhance this skill and create a bonding with the characters in the stories. This encourages an understanding about the behavior and thought processes of the other person. An empathetic understanding leads to less conflicts and better bonding resulting in better relationships, more humanitarian approach to issues concerning those under unfortunate circumstances.
POSITIVE SELF ESTEEM AND WELL BEING The traditional conception of mental health asserts that the well adjusted individual possesses a view of the self that includes an awareness and acceptance of both positive and negative views of the self. (Greenwood 1 980) Almost all studies and researches in the field of psychiatry and psychology eve focused on the aspect of ‘contact with reality’ as one of the most crucial and relevant aspect of well being and positive mental health. Along with this, the ability of individuals to be able to assess their abilities and their shortcomings in an objective manner is supposedly the hallmark of an emotionally mature and healthy individual. The ability to be happy or be relatively contended is the central criterion of mental health and well being.
In their article illusion and well being Taylor and Brown (1988) have argued that people who judge themselves positively and display a tendency to perceive ND judge their achievements and positive traits in an exaggerated manner tend to display illusory quality of self perception. Such individuals who display positive illusions about the self, personal control and flattering self portrayal tend to be more motivated and persistent in their efforts at tasks undertaken by them. Evidence from various other research studies do indicate that positive illusion about the self may be especially apparent and adaptive under circumstances of adversity that is those circumstances that might be expected to produce depression or lack of motivation.
Chief value of illusion s that it creates ‘self fulfilling prophecies’ a term used by Taylor and Brown which makes such individuals try harder in situations with objectively poor probabilities of success. A higher self esteem enables a person to evaluate his/her performance more positively as compared to those with low self esteem. (Vast and Broken 1979). Research on motivation has repeatedly emphasized that beliefs in personal efficacy are associated with higher motivation and more efforts to succeed. In addition, positive illusions about the self make a person more cognizant of their strengths and assets and are inconsiderably less aware of their faults and weaknesses . Even when negative aspects are acknowledged they tend to be dismissed as inconsequential .
Perception of improvement has been reported by subjects even though the performance remains unchanged. (Conway and Reese 1984) in such individuals. Attributing positive impact of such illusions in promoting the capacity for creative and productive work the authors have rested their arguments that such positive rata nags about the self contribute to enhanced motivation, persistence and performance. Whether exaggerated beliefs in arsenal control affect intellectual functioning directly is unknown. Positive perceptions about the self do result in positive moods, efficient and rapid problem solving strategies) (Seen and Means 983. Though the studies on positive illusion tend to have some inherent limitations . He most crucial question which the research has not been able to answer conclusively is whether all positive illusions are adaptive and catalytic in enhancing performance, social, skills and wellbeing. In spite of certain inherent limitations in the studies of positive illusions, I strongly feel that certain abilities like focusing on the achievements and enhancing the child’s skills at sharing and reporting their achievements with their peers and adults result in positive self esteem and feeling of self efficacy among children. This does impact the child in a positive way by motivating him/her to perform better, have more zeal and persistence.
In the study on children 10-12 year olds( Supra 2006) a story telling session was organized with the view to help children overcome their feelings of inadequacy with regards to school learning. The group consisted of children who were disruptive in the class moms and were reluctant to participate in activities pertaining to reading and writing. During the interactive sessions the children were encouraged to share their positive qualities and skills in different activities in the playground or at home. The activities which the children narrated were abilities pertaining to those activities which were not linked directly to the tasks associated with school learning.
These were the activities where the children Were not required to perform in a typical learning situation like drawing, sharing things with friends, activities concerning various games, reading Tories. Later the researcher motivated the participating children to discuss school related achievements as well. After a little coaxing the children related those tasks which according to them they were good at. The participant children described themselves as’ bright’ ,able to learn quickly’,’ good at reading,’ good memory’ etc. These discussions had a positive impact on the child’s school performance and in the improvement of behavior in the classroom.
The children strives to do better in their subject activities as well. This probably was the result of the positive traits which they had attributed to homeless at the time of discussions. Though, the teachers’ ratings did not agree with the descriptions but the children worked hard to achieve the traits described by them during a later stage. The study was very encouraging as it focused on the positive results which were achieved after the participants described some of their positive attributes and later worked to realize them. In his work on social intelligence Daniel Coleman discusses the hard consequences of the ‘soft skills’ on the work environment.
The social and emotional abilities are catalytic to whatever other abilities or potentials one assesses in the cognitive domain. The brain can be described as an elegant machine for survival and during the course of evolution the brain has the ability to register emotions. As ‘survival’ is the constant question in evolution, the brain constantly scans the incoming information for any threat. Amazedly in the brain is the heritage and releases stress hormones the moment it perceives a threat. Hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis is activated. In the present day scenario actual physical threats which spark the ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response are almost non existent. Dry.
Coleman argues that in today’s world action of the team mates or their success are perceived as threats by the human brain. These perceptions trigger the Amazedly where the HAP axis changes and prioritize the incoming information and also preoccupies the attention. The complex symbolic threat is perceived as distressing emotion and the attention narrows down and there is a strong urge to do something or say something. Amazedly hijacks the negative feelings and scans all other incoming information in the light of those negative thoughts and feelings. There is a strong urge to do something or do something. These reaction tatters are unconsciously learned during early childhood.
STORY TELLING AS A TECHNIQUE FOR ENHANCING SOCIAL EMOTIONAL COMPETENCE IN CHILDREN Traditionally, story telling as a technique has been associated with displaying many attributes which are of significance in enhancing the social emotional competence among children. The benefits of story telling are enormous and can be tapped efficiently if interwoven effectively with careful planning along with the school curriculum. When the children listen to stories sitting alongside the storyteller the benefits are enhanced manifold. Stories are important tools of ‘self awareness’ for children. Story telling is a conscious act of self expression through which children can experience themselves. Non- verbal aspects of the story like gesture. Facial expressions,posture,tone of voice which are the important accompaniments in any story telling session have an enormous impact on the thoughts and feelings of the child.
The listener in the process puts his ‘her thoughts in the frame work of the story keeping the real life at a safe distance. This serves as a powerful and effective therapeutic tool as well. Thinking and the behavior of children is influenced y stories. Children are fond of stories and they like to listen to stories again and again. Jim Woodard a counselor for delinquent children has found story telling a viable tool for reducing behavior problems in adolescent boys under his supervision. It has been argued that true life stories have a captivating effect on children and impact the lives of children in a positive way. When the children listen to stories they form their own images just the way they want them in their minds.
Recorded stories which are videotaped do not give the children a chance to form images of their choice as a result do not influence hillier strongly and also do not leave a long lasting impact on the child’s mind. Spoken words can redirect a child’s life. Joseph Straying stresses on the importance of ‘positive modeling stories’ to address children’s real life problems and concerns. Protagonist, in the tales has traits similar to the child, who models realistic thinking and problem solving in her thoughts, feelings and behavior. The protagonist may or may not be rewarded externally for exhibiting certain psychological skills but she always rewards herself for being internally motivated. Stories with such themes do the impact the child in ore than one way.
Story telling as an interactive, cooperative work can help children to visualize the strategies they wish to follow to solve their own conflicts and hardships. Stories about characters that are in some unfortunate circumstances or about the least fortunate child in the family, children facing challenges and how they overcome their misfortunes in the story plot whether by wit, fortune or kindness of others helps to motivate children. Story telling can serve as a powerful motivational tool and enhancing a child’s skills at dealing effectively with problems. Listening to and narrating stories enables children to understand and recognize the feelings and emotions of others. The ability to empathic which is a counterpart of self awareness is enhanced by stories.
The gestures, expressions tone of voice of the story teller are important indicators for children to understand the non verbal cues in social interactions the interpersonal skills for social understanding, interaction and way to communicate effectively in social settings are fostered by means of stories. Along with the verbal and non verbal communication skills ability to incinerate, reflect on certain issues is also positively impacted. The cultural transmission, understanding the history of the nation and family can be effectively communicated to children by this simple yet effective method of story telling. STORY TELLING : AN INDIAN PERSPECTIVE Kathy or the traditional Indian style Of religious Story telling is didactic in nature. This form of story narration is related to Hindu religious text and the narrator is a learned person who is well versed in Hindu religious scriptures.
This is essentially a discourse by religious knowledgeable person on the elisions texts like Purina’s, Ramadan,Baghdad Purina,Inhabited. The main objective is to instill moralistic values through the revelations of consequences of human action. Different stories from these texts on Hindu mythology serve the important function of guiding individuals in treading a path where traits like selflessness in actions, importance of human values and their relevance in family and community, helping others in unfortunate circumstances, not to be influenced by the negatives in the thoughts, controlling aggression and other negative thoughts are at the core of stories