Managing emotions and being able to act in a team, being open to the world and resistant to stress – these are the skills that students in a modern Ukrainian school should possess. Despite the fact that there are no chapters on how to deal with stress in the compulsory mathematics or geography textbooks, in the expert educational environment they believe that in times of change, it is no less important to master a conditional exam on resilience than to get high grades in specialized subjects. The EdCamp Ukraine team presented an international study at the national EdCamp VOLYA-2023 conference in June, which will be held in the fall and will show the extent to which such necessary skills for children have been formed. Why it is important EdCamp Ukraine professional community unites more than 40 thousand educators from all over Ukraine, since 2015 we have been holding national (un)conferences to determine priorities and directions of education development. This year, for three days, together with experts and educators from all over Ukraine, we reflected on how social-emotional skills can help restore post-war education. Therefore, we presented the international study of social-emotional skills (DoSEN), which will be conducted in Ukrainian schools this fall. This study was initiated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 15 countries of the world, including Ukraine, participate in it. This organization is also known in the educational field for the authoritative PISA study, which measures the cognitive skills of reading, mathematics and science literacy, to which Ukraine joined in 2018. As for DoSEN, it is the first study of social-emotional skills that takes place at the world level and has the highest standards. The OECR defines social-emotional skills (which are also called soft, flexible or skills of the 21st century, soft or life skills) as individual abilities, traits and characteristics that can be developed throughout life and that are important for educational achievements, social relations and cohesion, competitiveness in the labor market, active citizenship and human well-being in general. In the Ukrainian context, these skills also help children and adults cope with the stress and traumatic experiences we all go through during wartime. EdCamp Ukraine was chosen as the national center of DoSEN in Ukraine, and the co-organizer was the State Education Quality Service of Ukraine. The research is carried out with the assistance of the Ministry of Education and Science and with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation. It was during the war that Ukraine had a chance to measure the level of development of social and emotional skills, the results of which will become a reference point for secondary education in the future. The Ukrainian budget did not spend a single penny on the research, and the obligatory contribution for any country for participation in the research was paid by donors involved in the OECD. Conducting the DoSEN in Ukraine has a number of features. If in other countries research is organized at the level of cities or regions, then in Ukraine it is a national scale, because a representative sample of more than 200 participating institutions covers the entire territory of the country controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. So, for example, urban and rural schools are proportionally included in DoSEN. Both 15-year-old and 10-year-old students, as well as parents and guardians, participate in the study, whereas in other countries the participation of parents and younger children is optional. An important feature of the study is the adaptation of the tools to our military situation (in particular, additional questions and additional options for answers to questions common to all countries) and their trauma-sensitive examination, which was carried out by psychologist Svitlana Roiz. On the initiative of our community, since 2019, the social-emotional and ethical education program (SEEN) has been piloted in Ukraine through a national experiment in 26 educational institutions from 23 regions with the support of the Ministry of Education, the Institute of Educational Problems of the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences and the Civil Service for Peace GIZ-Ukraine. The vast majority of these schools are included in the sample of schools participating in DoSEN, which will allow us to draw certain conclusions about the effectiveness of the implementation of this program, to see whether the pupils of these schools will have an advantage in the development of social and emotional skills – compared to those schools where similar programs are not implemented. The SEEN program is not included in the list of mandatory ones, so teachers implement it according to different models of integration into the educational process – in some schools as a separate subject, in others, individual components of the program are added to lessons from other subjects. In addition, teachers use SEEN in class hours, in the format of a circle and extracurricular activities. During the (un)conference, we received feedback from one of the schools participating in the project. Oleksandra Serbeniuk, a teacher from the Frankiv region, said that class teachers implement the program in educational hours, and teachers use its individual elements during lessons. “Still, we wish there was one lesson in the curriculum that involved social-emotional learning. It would give a much better result, although we already notice it in our children when we do exercises. Especially during air alarms, when children are worried, they feel anxiety, fear,” Oleksandra Serbeniuk says. Our team repeatedly received similar feedback, so we thought about improving the social-emotional skills of students and, first of all, decided to find out how these skills (17 social-emotional skills will be measured) influence and shape the life of a child. And vice versa – how the environment in which the child lives contributes to or hinders the formation of these skills. For this purpose, Ukraine joined DoSEN, and, like other participating countries, will conduct a survey within the framework of the study at the beginning of the new school year. Apprenticeships (more than 7,000 people), teachers, school administrations (more than 2,000 people) and parents (about 7,000 people) will take part in the study. The survey will take place on a specially created online platform, but the participants will be at this time directly in the premises of the educational institution and under the supervision of representatives of the research organizing committee. Each category of participants will have a different set of questions, but they will all relate to social-emotional skills and their formation in different life contexts. Measurement of educational policies During the preparation for the study, we found out that there was no practice of measuring socio-emotional skills in Ukrainian education. In general, the emotional sphere in schools did not receive much attention, on the contrary, students tried to suppress their feelings so that the classrooms were quiet. And socio-emotional skills were not paid attention to, because there were no methods of measuring them, and what is not measured, as a rule, is not taken into account. “The State Service for the Quality of Education of Ukraine followed a different path, having institutional audit tools for evaluating schools. Surveys in schools concerned the assimilation of material from one or another educational subject. But they do not fully reveal the competence approaches in education declared by the state standard, because they do not measure them. Therefore DoSEN will show the full picture of what is happening in the education system of Ukraine,” said Ruslan Gurak, head of the State Education Quality Service of Ukraine, which is a co-organizer of the study. According to the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Oksen Lisovoy, today the Ministry ensures the printing of textbooks, develops a state standard for a senior specialized school, but special attention is paid to the support of the student community during a full-scale invasion. In particular, they work on the development of soft skills, such as willpower, perseverance, creativity, the ability to resist stress and find a common language with others, the ability to adapt to changes. “Academic success is certainly important, but it does not guarantee a strong start in professional life. Instead, developed soft skills play an important role in this,” – notes the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, Oksen Lisovyi. In turn, DoSEN measures the formation of such important skills as, in particular, emotion regulation, breadth of perspective, cooperation with others, and self-efficacy. The results of the study will be processed and made public in 2024. According to the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, Oksen Lisovoy, the obtained data will affect the teaching methods of teachers. Oleksandr Elkin, chairman of the board of EdCamp Ukraine, member of the Advisory Council on promoting the development of the general secondary education system under the President of Ukraine, especially for UP. Life Publications in the “View” section are not editorial articles and reflect exclusively the author’s point of view.
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