Week 3 – Social and Emotional Learning + Positive Psychology (Summer 2013)

This week we look at emotional intelligence which, in an educational context, is sometimes referred to as social and emotional learning.  Social and emotional learning really blossomed in the field of education after the release of Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence, in 1995. Theories of social and emotional learning are at the foundation of many other elements of peace pedagogy such as conflict resolution, reflective listening, and cooperative learning.  Hence, connections to social and emotional learning will continue to be referenced in other modules. We will also look at the field of positive psychology in this module. Positive psychology is a field of psychology made most famous by Dr. Martin Selligman.

The learning objectives of this module are that you will be able to:

  • Define emotional intelligence
  • Define social and emotional learning
  • Define positive psychology and identify various elements of it
  • Identify skills to enhance and develop emotional intelligence
  • Connect emotional intelligence to concepts of positive psychology
  • Brainstorm ways to incorporate emotional intelligence in your own learning environment

Key ideas and terms in this module are: emotional intelligence, positive psychology, emotional vocabulary, social and emotional learning, empathy, safe learning environment, comfort zone

The exercises for this week are:

  • Daily peace actions (Gratitude Letters)
  • Talk with your learning partner over the phone by Saturday, July 20th.
  • Contribute to forum 3.1 by Sunday, July 21st @ 12:00pm

Continue reading for the full outline of this week’s assignments…


Let’s begin with a short message from one of our AU peace educators, Michael Gibbons…



One of the seven blossoms of peace education is nurturing emotional intelligence. In this video, Dr. Daniel Goleman, author of the book, Emotional Intelligence, talks about how social and emotional learning began to emerge in the field of education.

Click here to continue reading and then post a response to the reflection question at the bottom of that page.



In this humorous TED Talk, Shawn Acher talks about developments in the field of positive psychology and the impact it can have on how we perform as students and professionals.  Positive psychology is linked to social emotional learning because if emotional intelligence looks at how we can understand the effect our emotions have on our actions, positive psychology looks at how our perception of reality affects our emotions.

Click here to continue reading and then post a response to the reflection question at the bottom of that page.



Throughout these weeks there have been a few references to creating “safe learning environments.” What does that actually mean and how is it related to social and emotional learning?

Learning is not supposed to be easy. In fact, its supposed to be challenging and provide opportunities to become stronger, more capable thinkers and doers. Creating challenging situations, posing difficult problems, and facilitating rigorous exercises requires a keen awareness of group dynamics and the emotions that fuel them.

Click here to continue reading and then post a response to the reflection question at the bottom of that page.



We’ve explored how emotions affect the brain and our actions. We’ve explored how our perceptions of reality impact our emotions. We’ve looked at how educational work to engage learners in managing, expressing, and understanding emotions is laden with values that are either explicitly or implicitly taught and modeled in learning environments. And we’ve looked at specific techniques and methods for building a strong container with our learning communities so as to encourage the expression of authentic emotion.  A thread that flows through all these explorations is the fundamental theory of human nature. Biologically how and why have our emotions evolved? Is humanity’s evolving “state of nature” a positive one?

Click here to continue reading and then post a response to the reflection question at the bottom of that page.



Find a time before the end of the week to call or meet up with the classmate you’ve been paired up with for this week and discuss your reactions to the assignments.

Click here to see who you have been paired up with this week.

The theme of this week’s paired discussions is “elicitation”. This means that I would like you to be very intentional about practicing your active and reflective listening skills when chatting on the phone. When conversing with your partner, I recommend having one person do most of the talking for 10 minutes while the other person listens, check for understanding, and asks questions that elicit more information about their partner’s responses and stories. Then after the 10 minutes are up, switch roles so that you are doing most of the talking while your partners listens, checks for understanding, and ask elicitive question.

Here are a couple questions to help guide your conversation:

  1. In doing your daily peace action this week and writing your gratitude letters, was there anything that surprised you during the process – to whom you decided to write? What you appreciated about that person? Did you get a response from anyone? Was it easy to write these letters? Difficult?
  2. In this video (also embedded in forum 3.1) Barbara Wien tells a story about a young Native American boy who tells his grandfather that he feels like he has two wolves inside of him fighting – one violent and one peaceful. He asks his grandfather which wolf will win. The father replies, “the one you feed.” How do envision yourself incorporating social and emotional learning and positive psychology into your teaching so as to feed the peaceful wolf?



Contribute to forum 3.1 by Sunday, July 21st @ 12:00pm

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