03 SES 14 A, Constructing Purposes and Legitimizing Social and Emotional Learning in Youth Education. Part 2
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the implications for the democratic aspects of primary education when using socio-emotional programs as value-based education. In all democratic European countries, school as an institution has been given a specific responsibility for fostering and educating the future citizens by equipping them with democratic values and skills. However, researchers have pointed out that there have been many different interpretations of the meaning of this democratic assignment and how to best realize it in classrooms. In recent years, it has often been interpreted in terms of social and emotional learning (SEL). In the paper, the results of a discursive analysis of two manual-based programs, used in primary school in Sweden and England, are presented and discussed. The focal points of the analysis are what democratic values and skills (social, emotional, cognitive and communicative) are constructed in the programs? Are the democratic values and skills constructed differently in the Swedish programs, compared to the English programs? The results are also discussed from a sociological perspective, where social and emotional learning is understood as part of a wider therapeutic culture, where focusing on and handling emotions is regarded as enlightened and good (Furedi, 2003).
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