European Journal of Emotional education is a peer-rewieved Journal with the aim of promoting Social Emotional Competence. In these days the Journal publish a special edition based on two International Conferences in the field of the Promotion of Social and Emotional Competence; the 10th Anniversary Conference of the Centre for Social Competence at Diakonhjemmet University College, Norway in 2012, and the 4th International ENSEC Conference at Zagreb University, Croatia in 2013.
Knut Gundersen, Kathy Evens and Renata Miljevic-Ridicki has been guest editors. There are three contributions accepted from the10th Anniversary Conference.
In the first paper Knut Gundersen argues that many of the dimensions of ‘social competence’ might best be understood as a number of continua where the optimal level could be in the middle rather than at one end of the continuum; a theoretical model that Gunderson explores drawing on examples from practice. He goes on to argue that it follows that the overall purpose in a socail skills training group might then involve training some participants to do less of something and others to do more of the same thing. Gunderson argues that this conceptualisation of social competence lends itself to a more individualised appraoch to promoting social and emotional competnecies, and suggests the need for more flexibility in delivering parts of programmes or combinations of programmes. He argues that the knowledge and skills of the trainer would be essential to making these adaptations.
In the second paper Roman Koposov, Knut Gundersen and Frode Svartdal present the results of an evaluation of ART in Russia where ART has been disseminated under the auspices of the Children and Youth at Risk Project. The quasi-experimental study sampled 232 children recruited from 6 schools and 4 institutions, 145 in the intervention group and 90 in the control group. The intervention group undertook a 30 hour ART Programme facilitated by teachers trained in ART. The ART Programme was associated with a significant increase in social skills when assessed bychildren’s self-reports, and the most significant effects were found in the two age groups of 6-9 and 10-14 years old. Koposov et al comment on one of the interesting findings of the study, consistent with previous studies in Norway (Gundersen & Svartdal, 2010), that the control group also reported an significant improvement in social skills, which they argue could be attributed to a diffusion effect from children participating in an intervention to children from the control group. The authors note the potential for further research in Russia and other Eastern European Settings.
In the third paper Helen Cowie presents an interesting analysis of the role of bystanders in incidents of bullying. She argues that perpetrators seldom act alone, but are usually supported by their immediate group of ‘assistants’ and ‘reinforcers’ and encouraged by the responses of the bystanders as ‘outsider’ who may react with indifference to the plight of the victim or implicitly condone what is happening. Cowie describes the ambivalence felt by the bystanders, who understand that bullying is wrong and want to stop it, but are aware of their own needs for security and acceptance within the peer group. She argues convincingly that cyberbullying presents a special challenge since it has the potential to reach a large audience and thus could be very harmful for the victim. Cowie suggests some interesting implications for practice, particularly in relation to the potentiality of peer support in this area.
In addition to this there are four articles accepted from the other Conference.