Applicant: Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller, University of Würzburg, in cooperation with Dr. Stefanie Roos, TU Dortmund, Dr. Christine Schmalenbach, Nehemiah International University El Salvador, and Anja Grieser
Cooperating schools: Katholische Hauptschule Marl; Mittelschule München an der Lehrer-Wirth-Straße
Title of the project: SeELe - socioemotional development with ladders of learning
Foundation: Heidehof-Stiftung GmbH
The programme "SeELe" (socioemotional development with ladders of learning) was developed to provide materials that promote the social and emotional development of students, aged 10 to 15, in school and other pedagogical settings. These materials justice to the heterogeneity of children and young people by structured individual learning activities and dealing independently with individual and joint tasks at their own pace of learning.
According to an interactionist understanding, the handling of emotions and social behaviour develop in interaction with the social environment (cf. Stein/Müller 2015). This development takes place differently for each person. Basic emotional-social skills are indispensable for a democratic society (cf. Pepper 2017). The project "SeELe" combines aspects of the MultiGradeMultiLevel-Methodology from India and Cooperative Learning in a ladder of learning with individual and common tasks to promote the socioemotional development. Both approaches were developed as a pedagogical-didactiv response to challenging framework and focus on the self-activitiy and interaction of pupils (cf. Müller 2016; Schmalenbach 2017).
2.1 The MultiGradeMultiLevel-Methodology and its Ladders of Learning
The MultiGradeMultiLevel-Methodology (MGML) was developed by the Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Resources (RIVER) 30 years ago. It was originally created as part of the development of rural schools in poor and remote villages around Rishi Valley in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The concept was the answer to the challenges confronted by rural multi-grade schools: The significant heterogeneity of the pupils`age and level of education, a lack of identification with the school and the contents of lessons, school absenteeism and the ensuing learning gaps, and a teaching atmosphere marked by fear and pressure (cf. Müller 2016; Girg/Lichtinger/Müller 2012). Since its successful implementation in India, MGML has been adapted to other countries and is now used in various contexts worldwide. For that the concept is adapted to the local and regional conditions, for example in Ethiopia, Nepal and Kenya. In Germany, too, the ladders of learning have been successfully used several times in different forms and levels of school, among others with pupils in need of social-emotional development (cf. Müller/Lichtinger/Girg 2015).
The ladders of learning are a central element of MGML. These visibly structure and secure the process of learning, allowing students to design their process of learning at their own pace. The ladders of learning are subdivided into milestones. These include thematically related actitivies and are subdivided into introduction, excercise (reinforcement), evaluation of the desired objective and if necessary remedial or enrichment. Symbols link the activities of the ladder of learning to acitivity cards and fitting materials. The learners visibly recognize their success while proceeding on the ladders of learning (cf. Müller 2012; 2016).
2.2 Socioemotional Learning
Emotional and social competences can be considered as key qualifications, too. Although both fields of competence are not identical, they are interconnected and interdependent (cf. Hartmann/Methner 2015, 12 and Schreyer-Mehlhop/Petermann/Siener/Petermann 2011, 202). They can be considered on a development continuum (cf. e.g. Berk 2011, 346) and can be specifically promoted. Success in life, e. g. in the academic field (cf. e. g. Jones/Bouffard 2012), is associated with the existence of an adequate level of social and emotional skills (cf. Halle/Darling-Churchill 2016, 9). The individual students of a school class have different emotional and social competences in different fields (cf. e. g. Stein/Müller 2015). Self-efficacy is a main factor for the development and continuation of socioemotionally competent behaviour (cf. e. g. Roos 2006, 96).
2.3 Cooperative Learning
Cooperative learning is a possibility to promote the development of social competences in school daily (cf. Davidson/Howell Major, 2014). Lessons shall be organized in that way that pupils work together and support each other (cf. Souvignier 1999, 14). In doing so social processes are continual "dealt with, accentuated and structured" (Weidner 2008, 29).
Cooperative learning is a widely evaluated teaching approach (cf. Slavin 1990). According to meta-analyses and reviews this teaching approach fosters school learning as well as social and emotional development of students (e. g. Johnson/Johnson 1989, 2002; Slavin 1990; Hattie 2009, Kyndt et. al. 2013), especially students from vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities, families with low income, students in the first three classes of the primary schools and urban schools (cf. Ginsburg-Block, Fatuzzo, and Rohrbeck 2006).
3. The Project SeELe
Since 2017 the ladder of learning has been developed in order to foster socioemotional competences during inclusive lessons, designed for students from grades 5 and 6. The ladder of learning is devided into five blocks. Each of them represents a complex of topics, and progress to a new block is only allowed after having dealt with the block completely. The first three milestones introduce the topics of cooperation, communication and biography and serve as a careful approach to self-perception and experience. The following block of the ladder of learning addresses the basic emotions anger, sadness, fear and joy. Children and youth are free to choose their sequence of processing between the systemically arranged milestones, whereby each milestone represents an emotion. The next block of the ladder of learning deals with emotions such as pride, shame and disgust. The fourth block of milestones deals with topics of relatedness such as friendship, relationship, sexuality as well as communication, cooperation and the resolution of conflicts. The last block addesses one`s own biography and an outlook on the future takes place. Moreover, there are cross-sectional themes that recur again and again such as self-concept, identity, self-efficacy.
The ladder of learning provides a framework with acitivities alternating between individual-, partner- and group work. Common tasks implement the principles of cooperative learning as far as possible. Due to the application of reflection phases in small groups and transfer tasks, the ladder of learning is integrated in daily life of the children and young people. In the graphic implementation of the ladder of learning attention was paid to clarity and irritation reduction. The individual acitivies of each milestone are arranged around one topic image, which presents the theme in an abstract and impressive way. The colourful pictures give an insight into the topic and at the same time also encourage the students to fill them with their own perceptions and experiences.The work with materials is supported by clearly structured elements (e. g. symbols, numbers, clear and concise sentences).
You will find a more detailled description of the project and its theoretical backgrounds at Schmalenbach, C., Roos, S., Müller, T. & Grieser, A. (2019). SeELe - Sozial-emotionale Entwicklung mit Lernleitern. Emotionale und Soziale Entwicklung 1, 174-184.
Projects in this field up to now:
Berk, L. E. (2011). Entwicklungspsychologie (5., überarb. Aufl.). München: Pearson Studium.
Davidson, N., & Howell Major, C. (2014). Boundary Crossings: Cooperative Learning, Collaborative Learning and Problem-Based Learning. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 25 (3&4), 7–55.
Ginsburg-Block, M. D., Fantuzzo, J. W., & Rohrbeck, C. A. (2006). A Meta-Analytic Review of Social, Self-Concept and Behavioral Outcomes of Peer-Assisted Learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(4), 732–749.
Girg, R., Lichtinger, U. & Müller, T. (2012): Lernen mit Lernleitern. Unterrichten mit der MultiGradeMultiLevel-Methodology. Immenhausen: Prolog.
Halle, T.-G. & Darling-Churchill, K.-E. (2016). Review of measures of social and emotional development. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 45, 8–18.
Hartmann, B. & Methner, A. (2015). Leipziger Kompetenz-Screening für die Schule (LKS). Diagnostik und Förderplanung: soziale und emotionale Fähigkeiten, Lern- und Arbeitsverhalten. München: Ernst Reinhardt.
Hattie, J. (2008). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London: New York: Routledge.
Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1989). Cooperation and Competition: Theory and Research. Edina: Interaction Book Company.
Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2002). Learning Together and Alone: Overview and Meta-analysis. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 22(1), 95–105.
Jones, S.M. & Bouffard, S. (2012). Social and Emotional Learning in Schools: From Programs to Strategies. Social Policy Report, 26(4), 1-22.
Kyndt, E., Raes, E., Lismont, B., Timmers, F., Cascallar, E., & Dochy, F. (2013). A meta-analysis of the effects of face-to-face cooperative learning. Do recent studies falsify or verify earlier findings? Educational Research Review 10, 133–149.
Müller, T. (2012). „Mit mir geht was weiter…“. Zur Arbeit mit der MultiGradeMultiLevel-Methodology und ihren Lernleitern an der St. Vincent-Schule. Fördermagazin 3, 49 – 52.
Müller, T. (2016). Lernen mit Lernleitern – Schulentwicklungskonzeptionen aus Rishi Valley. Schulpädagogik heute, 7(13), o.S.
Müller, T., Lichtinger U., Girg, R. (2015): The MultiGradeMultiLevel-Methodology and its Global Significance. Ladders of Learning - Scientific Horizons - Teacher Education. Immenhausen: Prolog
Pfeffer, S. (2017). Sozial-emotionale Entwicklung fördern: Wie Kinder in der Gemeinschaft stark werden. Freiburg: Herder.
Roos, S. (2006). Evaluation des „Trainings mit Jugendlichen“ im Rahmen schulischer Berufsvorbereitung. Frankfurt a.M.: Lang.
Schmalenbach, C. (2017). Cooperación y participación como respuesta a situaciones desafiantes en las vidas de estudiantes. RIE - UANL (4), 46–59.
Schreyer-Mehlhop, I., Petermann, F., Siener, C. & Petermann, U. (2011). Ressourcenorientierte Diagnostik des Sozialverhaltens in der Schule. Ein Baustein zur Förderung sozial-emotionaler Kompetenz. Kindheit und Entwicklung, 20(4), 201-208.
Slavin, R. E. (1990). Cooperative learning: Theory, research, and practice. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.
Souvignier, E. (1999). Kooperatives Lernen in Sonderschulen für Lernbehinderte und Erziehungsschwierige. Sonderpädagogik, 29(1), 14–25.
Stein, R., & Müller, T. (2015). Verhaltensstörungen und emotional-soziale Entwicklung: zum Gegenstand. In R. Stein, T. Müller, (Hrsg.), Inklusion im Förderschwerpunkt emotionale und soziale Entwicklung (S. 19–43). Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer.
Weidner, M. (1998). Durch Gruppenunterricht zur Teamfähigkeit: Kooperative Lernformen an einer Schule für Erziehungshilfe. Praxis Schule 5-10 (5), 16–19.
Weidner, M. (2008). Kooperatives Lernen im Unterricht: Das Arbeitsbuch (4. Aufl.). Seelze-Velber: Kallmeyer.