Choice is up to experienced educators

31st August 2007 at 01:00
In response to the comments by Carol Craig on teaching emotional literacy, reported in your issue last week, may I make a few observations.

Support to develop personal and social competence in the form of a curriculum or taught programme is not new and has a long and successful history in many countries, including our own.

Social and emotional development are part of the educational outcomes that we would all like to see and have variously been called personal, social and health education, moral education and character education. So I see the initiative being developed in England, the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL), being part of that tradition.

I also do not believe that the SEAL material is mandatory for schools: my understanding is that it is an individual choice on the part of schools as to whether to use it or not, so I would not think of considering it to be in "the realm of large-scale psychological experimentation".

Rather, I see it as a choice being made by experienced educators on ways in which they think their children's personal and social education will be best enhanced. I trust experienced educators being able to make those kind of choices for their own, very unique, children.

I have seen many, many examples of children, staff and schools using restorative practices (or similar) materials who have spoken positively about their introduction and use. And I believe it has provided beneficial support for a lot of children and staff.

Elizabeth Morris

principal,

School of Emotional Literacy, Dryden Road, Bilston Glen, Edinburgh

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