Announcing JEiE Special Issue on PSS and SEL in Emergencies

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We are pleased to announce the publication of 
Journal on Education in Emergencies Volume 7, Number 2 – Special Issue on Psychosocial Support and Social and Emotional Learning in Emergencies!
 

Join JEiE authors, editors, and special guest discussants for a panel webinar about the new issue on Friday, 28 January 2022, 2:00-3:30pm UTC.
Click the link to register: https://rescue.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_c5hLF2N-ToWvpOlL490S3A.
 

Check out our new look! We are proud to announce that we have redesigned JEiE to adhere to global standards for visual accessibility.

The JEiE Special Issue on Psychosocial Support and Social and Emotional Learning in Emergencies offers a snapshot of the strategies and tools being developed and used to understand the status of wellbeing and psychosocial support in humanitarian contexts and the effectiveness of EiE programming that incorporates PSS and SEL principles. This issue presents evidence of the progress being made in creating, validating, and using new, culturally relevant measures of mental health and wellbeing among students living in situations of crisis and conflict, and among the teachers, caregivers, and community members on whom these young people rely. 

JEiE Volume 7, Number 2 includes six research articles, three field notes, two book reviews, and one commentary. The authors who contributed to this issue work at 30 institutions based in more than 12 countries. Together they advance our understanding of how psychological health, emotional wellbeing, social cohesion, and education are linked. They also reinforce the notion that schools are important sites for protecting children from the emotional trauma and psychological harm wrought by conflict and crisis. Schools can offer students a sense of stability, dignity, accomplishment, and hope in their daily lives, provide nurturing care and opportunities for play, and serve as a staging ground for the provision of services and resources, including mental health resources.

Lead editors Ragnhild Dybdahl (University of Bergen) and James Williams (George Washington University) generously gave of their time and expertise in making this special issue a reality.

The full JEiE Volume 7, Number 2, as well as previous issues of JEiE and all individual articles, can be downloaded for free from the INEE website: inee.org/journal.

This issue is available in English; the abstract and title of each article are also available in Arabic, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

For more information about JEiE, visit inee.org/journal.

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Journal on Education in Emergencies Volume 7, Number 2
Special Issue on Psychosocial Support and Social and Emotional Learning in Emergencies

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EDITORIAL NOTE

Ragnhild Dybdahl and James Williams

EiE RESEARCH ARTICLES

Developing and Validating the International Social and Emotional Learning Assessment: Evidence from a Pilot Test with Syrian Refugee Children in Iraq
Nikhit D’Sa and Allyson Krupar

Teachers’ Observations of Learners’ Social and Emotional Learning: Psychometric Evidence for Program Evaluation in Education in Emergencies
Ha Yeon Kim, Kalina Gjicali, Zezhen Wu, and Carly Tubbs Dolan

Creating a Tool to Measure Children’s Wellbeing: A PSS Intervention in South Sudan
Moses Olayemi, Melissa Tucker, Mamour Choul, Tom Purekal, Arlene Benitez, Wendy Wheaton, and Jennifer DeBoer

How Do We Know If Teachers Are Well? The Wellbeing Holistic Assessment for Teachers Tool
Fernanda Soares, Nina Menezes Cunha, and Paul Frisoli

Evaluating the 3Cs Program for Caregivers of Young Children Affected by the Armed Conflict in Colombia
Lina María González Ballesteros, José M. Flores, Ana María Ortiz Hoyos, Amalia Londoño Tobón, Sascha Hein, Felipe Bolívar Rincon, Oscar Gómez, and Liliana Angélica Ponguta

How Family Relationships Predict the Effectiveness of a Psychosocial Group Intervention among War-Affected Children
Raija-Leena Punamäki, Kirsi Peltonen, Marwan Diab, and Samir R. Qouta

EiE FIELD NOTES

Using a Participatory Approach to Create SEL Programming: The Case of Ahlan Simsim
Shanna Kohn, Kim Foulds, Charlotte Cole, Mackenzie Matthews, and Laila Hussein

Developing a Culturally Relevant Measure of Resilience for War-Affected Adolescents in Eastern Ukraine
Sergiy Bogdanov, Andriy Girnyk, Vira Chernobrovkina, Volodymyr Chernobrovkin, Alexander Vinogradov, Kateryna Harbar, Yuliya Kovalevskaya, Oksana Basenko, Irina Ivanyuk, Kimberly Hook, and Mike Wessells

Developing the Group Facilitation Assessment of Competencies Tool for Group-Based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Interventions in Humanitarian and Low-Resource Settings
Gloria A. Pedersen, Manaswi Sangraula, Pragya Shrestha, Pooja Lakshmin, Alison Schafer, Renasha Ghimire, Nagendra P. Luitel, Mark J. D. Jordans, and Brandon A. Kohrt

BOOK REVIEWS

Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism? Children’s Television and Globalized Multicultural Education by Naomi A. Moland
Kate Lapham

NISSEM Global Briefs: Educating for the Social, the Emotional and the Sustainable
Solfrid Raknes and edited by Andy Smart, Margaret Sinclair, Aaron Benavot, Jean Bernard, Colette Chabbott, S. Garnett Russell, James Williams,

COMMENTARY

How the Education in Emergencies Field Can Help the United States Respond to COVID-19
Rebecca Winthrop and Helen Shwe Hadani

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ABSTRACTS

Editorial Note: Journal on Education in Emergencies: Volume 7, Number 2

Ragnhild Dybdahl and James Williams

In this editorial note, special issue lead editors Ragnhild Dybdahl and James Williams take stock of the efforts to define and operationalize psychosocial support (PSS) and social and emotional learning (SEL) worldwide. They note the strong focus in this issue on the development of rigorous new methods for assessing emotional health and wellbeing and efforts to adapt and contextualize PSS and SEL tools for in humanitarian contexts. Dybdahl and Williams outline the contributions of each piece to the real-world practice of EiE, such as for evaluating EiE programming that features PSS/SEL principles, while reminding readers that learning itself is a fundamentally social and emotional process 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33682/55ye-s1pk 

 

Developing and Validating the International Social and Emotional Learning Assessment: Evidence from a Pilot Test with Syrian Refugee Children in Iraq

Nikhit D’Sa and Allyson Krupar

The growing focus on social and emotional learning (SEL) for children of primary grade age in conflict-affected and fragile contexts necessitates an understanding of the effects these programs have. However, the dearth of valid and reliable measures of SEL skills in low-resource and crisis contexts has constrained the generation of this evidence. The few tools that have robust psychometric properties were developed for use in high-resource contexts; they often have usage costs, limit adaptations, and focus on adults as respondents. To address this gap, we developed the International Social and Emotional Learning Assessment (ISELA), an adaptable, cost-free, open-source, performance-based measure of self-concept, stress management, perseverance, empathy, and conflict resolution in children between ages 6 and 12. In this study, we focused on establishing the validity and reliability of the ISELA when used with Syrian refugee children in Iraq. We tested the latent structure, criterion validity, internal consistency reliability, and interrater reliability of the ISELA with 620 Syrian children. We were able to establish a theoretically grounded factor structure for all of the skills except perseverance. The ISELA can be used reliably by groups of assessors (Krippendorf’s alpha>.86) with strong internal consistency (KR-20>.70). Our findings for criterion validity were promising but preliminary; grade and exposure to interpersonal threats demonstrated a positive association with SEL skills.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33682/xdpq-bwp2 

 

Teachers’ Observations of Learners’ Social and Emotional Learning: Psychometric Evidence for Program Evaluation in Education in Emergencies

Ha Yeon Kim, Kalina Gjicali, Zezhen Wu, and Carly Tubbs Dolan

Rigorous evaluation of social and emotional learning programs requires the use of measures that provide reliable and valid information on the meaningful differences in children’s social emotional skills across treatment and control groups, as well as changes over time. In contexts affected by conflict and crisis, few measures can provide the evidence required to support their use in program evaluations, which limits stakeholders’ ability to determine whether a program is working, how well it is working, and for whom. The Teacher Observation of Learners’ Social Emotional Learning, known as TOOLSEL, holds promise for addressing this gap. TOOLSEL is a teacher-report questionnaire about children’s behavior as observed in natural classroom settings. It is used to assess a set of social, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive competencies among primary school-age children in fragile, conflict-affected settings. In this article, using the data from a sample of 3,661 Syrian refugee children who were enrolled in formal Lebanese public schools and had access to a nonformal remedial support program, we report evidence on the psychometric soundness of the TOOLSEL. We provide empirical evidence of the TOOLSEL’s reliability and validity, and that the TOOLSEL captured these Syrian refugee children’s social and emotional learning skills in ways that were unbiased and comparable across treatment groups, gender, age, and time. We also provide recommendations for using the TOOLSEL, including ways to improve its feasibility, reliability, and validity.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33682/3nr1-3ksq 

 

Creating a Tool to Measure Children’s Wellbeing: A PSS Intervention in South Sudan

Moses Olayemi, Melissa Tucker, Mamour Choul, Tom Purekal, Arlene Benitez, Wendy Wheaton, and Jennifer DeBoer

Since 2015, more than 560,000 South Sudanese primary school children have received psychosocial support (PSS) through the USAID-funded Integrated Essential Emergency Education Services program implemented by UNICEF. Several South Sudan-based nongovernmental organizations partnered with UNICEF to train local teachers to implement the PSS activities in child-friendly spaces. To evaluate the impact this intervention had on students’ wellbeing and academic performance, a multi-institutional consortium of multidisciplinary partners purposively sampled 2,982 students and 580 teachers in 64 schools from five states in the Republic of South Sudan. Critical to the evaluation’s aims was the design of a contextually relevant, rigorously validated instrument to measure students’ wellbeing in a region where research on PSS outcomes in education in emergencies is needed. In this article, we first present the process by which these survey instruments were designed through the collaborative efforts of experts on measuring psychosocial support outcomes in conflict settings and experts on the local context. We then describe how we tested for the construct validity of the resulting instrument and present the results of our confirmatory factor analysis of its three-factor model of social wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, and resilience/coping. Finally, based on our process and the resulting instrument, we make recommendations for future research on PSS outcomes in emergency settings.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33682/rhqb-fy8u 

 

How Do We Know If Teachers Are Well? The Wellbeing Holistic Assessment for Teachers Tool

Fernanda Soares, Nina Menezes Cunha, and Paul Frisoli

This article reports on the development, adaptation, and validation of the Wellbeing Holistic Assessment for Teachers (WHAT) tool with a sample of 1,659 Salvadoran teachers. El Salvador is a conflict-affected country marked by high levels of gang-related violence, which interacts with education and directly affects the wellbeing of teachers. Having a contextually grounded and validated tool is imperative to further our understanding of educator wellbeing in El Salvador and other conflict-affected settings, as it enables us to generate evidence that informs policies and interventions. In this article, we describe how we reviewed and selected the measures that comprise the WHAT tool, followed by an initial conceptualization of teacher wellbeing and a description of the experiences and challenges teachers in El Salvador are facing. We describe our process for translating and adapting the selected measures to the Salvadoran context, which included conducting cognitive interviews. The results from our exploratory factor analysis provide construct validity evidence for the internal structure of the individual measures used. The exploratory factor analysis that included all the items for all the measures confirmed that each scale is indeed measuring a different construct. The results from a confirmatory factor analysis confirmed a good model fit. The process of adapting the tool and the results of our psychometric analysis provide evidence of the tool’s validity, based on the content of the items in the tool, the internal structure, and its relationship to other variables.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33682/f059-7nxk 

 

Evaluating the 3Cs Program for Caregivers of Young Children Affected by the Armed Conflict in Colombia

Lina María González Ballesteros, José M. Flores, Ana María Ortiz Hoyos, Amalia Londoño Tobón, Sascha Hein, Felipe Bolívar Rincon, Oscar Gómez, and Liliana Angélica Ponguta

Colombia has endured one of the world’s longest internal displacement crises in recent history. Programs that address the practices and psychosocial wellbeing of the community of caregivers of young children in protracted crises are urgently needed. We developed and implemented a program aimed at strengthening the resilience and wellbeing of caregivers (parents, grandparents, and educators) of children enrolled in home-based and institutional centers for early childhood development in Colombia. The program, Conmigo, Contigo, Con Todos, or 3Cs, used purposive sampling across 14 municipalities disproportionately impacted by the armed conflict in Colombia. It consisted of two modules, a skills-building program (SBP) module and a psychotherapy intervention (PTI). The program content drew from cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness, and from inputs from local stakeholders. By applying a pragmatic evaluation strategy, we explored the pre-post intervention changes in parental resilience (the primary outcome of interest) through self-reports on the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). The analysis of the pre-post intervention outcomes showed statistically significant improvements in CD-RISC in both intervention arms (SBP and PTI). Caregivers in the PTI group started with lower CD-RISC scores than caregivers who did not receive the PTI, and they showed the most improvement over time. Caregivers who had lower than average participation in the SBP (M=1-3 sessions out of a total of 6) did not show significant changes in CD-RISC. Additionally, caregivers who had higher than average participation in the SBP showed significantly more improvement in CD-RISC scores than caregivers who did not attend any sessions. We discuss the implications of these findings for future applications of the program and substantiate the measurable impact of interventions for caregivers in conflict settings.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33682/14b2-4nmm 

 

How Family Relationships Predict the Effectiveness of a Psychosocial Group Intervention among War-Affected Children

Raija-Leena Punamäki, Kirsi Peltonen, Marwan Diab, and Samir R. Qouta

Family relationships habitually shape the way traumatic events affect children’s mental health in a context of war and violence, but research is scarce on the role these relationships play in the success of psychosocial interventions. This study is a secondary analysis of previously identified family system types that are based on attachment, parenting, and siblingship, and of the influence they have on the effectiveness of teaching recovery techniques (TRT). TRT is a psychosocial group intervention aimed at reducing children’s mental health problems and increasing their psychosocial resources. We tested three hypotheses. First was the compensation hypothesis, which holds that children from families with negative relationships benefit a great deal from the TRT intervention. The second was the accumulative hypothesis, which maintains that children from families with negative relationships do not benefit from the intervention. The third, the buffering hypothesis, states that children from families with positive relationships benefit a great deal from the intervention. The family sample consists of 325 Palestinian mothers and fathers and one of their children (age 10–13). Children participated either in the TRT intervention or waiting-list control groups. Their self-reported post-traumatic stress symptoms, emotional and conduct problems, positive resources, and prosocial behavior were assessed at baseline, three months post-intervention, and at a six-month follow-up. We found that family type was significantly associated with TRT effectiveness, which supports the compensation and buffering hypotheses. Children with insecure and negative family relationships and those from families with discrepant perceptions of relationship quality showed a decline in emotional problems across the three assessments, and an increase in positive resources. Children from families with highly secure, positive relationships and those with moderately secure, neutral relationships showed increased positive resources and prosocial behavior in the control group as well. We argue that a family system approach can deepen understanding of the mechanisms of successful psychosocial interventions and, therefore, that family relations should be taken into account when tailoring such interventions for traumatized children.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33682/004f-n6d4 

 

Field Note: Using a Participatory Approach to Create SEL Programming: The Case of Ahlan Simsim

Shanna Kohn, Kim Foulds, Charlotte Cole, Mackenzie Matthews, and Laila Hussein

This paper highlights the use of a participatory, trauma-informed approach in the creation of Ahlan Simsim, a Sesame Street television program for the Middle East, and asserts the importance of using a participatory approach to designing culturally relevant SEL content. Ahlan Simsim is a component of a larger initiative of the same name, which was created by Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee and funded by the MacArthur and LEGO foundations. This program brings early learning and nurturing care to children and families affected by the Syrian crisis through a combination of mass media and direct service programming. In this article, we present a review of the research and consultations Sesame Workshop conducted with local communities and local child-development experts in Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon from August to November 2018. Sesame Workshop’s aim was to identify and refine the television program’s focus area and to create locally relevant, trauma-informed content that draws from social and emotional learning strategies that resonate most and have the greatest impact with audiences in the Syrian response region. We argue that, for SEL programming to achieve maximum impact, it is critical that program designers develop social-emotional frameworks for children from the ground up by working with local caregivers and practitioners.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33682/hxrv-2g8g 

 

Field Note: Developing a Culturally Relevant Measure of Resilience for War-Affected Adolescents in Eastern Ukraine

Sergiy Bogdanov, Andriy Girnyk, Vira Chernobrovkina, Volodymyr Chernobrovkin, Alexander Vinogradov, Kateryna Harbar, Yuliya Kovalevskaya, Oksana Basenko, Irina Ivanyuk, Kimberly Hook, and Mike Wessells

Psychosocial support in education that is provided during emergencies frequently aims to support children’s resilience, but strong, contextual measures of resilience are in short supply in Eastern Europe. In this article, our aim is to describe the development and psychometric properties of the first measure of resilience for war-affected adolescents in Eastern Ukraine. We used qualitative methods to identify the main cultural characteristics of resiliency and then used these constructs to develop the measure. We used exploratory structural equation modeling to extract five factors that showed high internal consistency: family support (ω=0.89), optimism (ω=0.87), persistence (ω=0.87), health (ω=0.86), and social networking (ω=0.87). Confirmatory factor analysis suggested that a concise model of resiliency fit the data almost as well as the exploratory structural equation modeling model. The measure demonstrated good test-retest reliability. In this article, we also discuss the importance of development, validation, and the use of culturally relevant measures of resilience for strengthening psychosocial support programs in schools, particularly in Ukraine.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33682/wxrd-x8fq 

 

Field Note: Developing the Group Facilitation Assessment of Competencies Tool for Group-Based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Interventions in Humanitarian and Low-Resource Settings

Gloria A. Pedersen, Manaswi Sangraula, Pragya Shrestha, Pooja Lakshmin, Alison Schafer, Renasha Ghimire, Nagendra P. Luitel, Mark J. D. Jordans, and Brandon A. Kohrt

In humanitarian settings, mental health and psychosocial support services (MHPSS) are often delivered in group-based formats. Group interventions enable providers to reach more individuals when resources and technical expertise are limited. Group-based programs also foster social support, empathy, and collective problem-solving among the participants. To remedy the current lack of tools available to assess the group facilitation competencies of individuals delivering group-based MHPSS, we made it our objective to develop such a tool. Our approach, which focused on adults, complimented a similar initiative underway for children and adolescents. We reviewed MHPSS manuals to identify key group facilitation competencies, which include developing and reviewing group ground rules, facilitating participation among all group members, fostering empathy between members, encouraging collaborative problem-solving, addressing barriers to attendance, time management, and ensuring group confidentiality. We then developed the Group Facilitation Assessment of Competencies (GroupACT) Tool. The GroupACT is a structured observational tool for assessing these competencies during standardized role-plays with actor clients, or in vivo during the delivery of group sessions with actual clients. We conclude this article with guidance for using the GroupACT to assess facilitators’ competencies in providing group-based MHPSS in the health, education, protection, and other sectors in humanitarian settings.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33682/u4t0-acde 

 

Book Review: Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism? Children’s Television and Globalized Multicultural Education by Naomi A. Moland

Kate Lapham

In her review of Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism? Children’s Television and Globalized Multicultural Education by Naomi A. Moland, Kate Lapham highlights fierce debates among international development scholars and practitioners regarding whether and how external actors can foster multicultural education and peacebuilding through educational media. Lapham writes that Moland uses Sesame Workshop’s production of Sesame Square in Nigeria as a case for understanding the complex interplay of priorities and values among Western development officials (Sesame producers), local education experts, and recipients of programming (Sesame Square viewers) in diverse parts of the country.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33682/h9eu-t14z 

 

Book Review: NISSEM Global Briefs: Educating for the Social, the Emotional and the Sustainable edited by Andy Smart, Margaret Sinclair, Aaron Benavot, Jean Bernard, Colette Chabbott, S. Garnett Russell, and James Williams

Solfrid Raknes

In her review of NISSEM Global Briefs: Educating for the Social, the Emotional and the Sustainable edited by Andy Smart, Margaret Sinclair, Aaron Benavot, Jean Bernard, Colette Chabbott, S. Garnett Russell, and James Williams, Solfrid Raknes outlines how, taken together, the contributing authors present a strategy for promoting Target 4.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goal, for example by embedding SEL themes in textbooks promoting inclusion and social cohesion through educational resources. Raknes argues, like the authors of the NISSEM Global Briefs, that social and emotional skills are critical to navigating an increasingly unequal, globalized, and polluted world.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33682/2y3u-6uz6 

 

Commentary: How the Education in Emergencies Field Can Help the United States Respond to COVID-19

Rebecca Winthrop and Helen Shwe Hadani

Authors Rebecca Winthrop and Helen Shwe Hadani provide this commentary on how COVID-19 has made the United States a site of education in emergencies. This is apparent in the language of “build back better,” as much as it is in the cognitive, social, and emotional lags students may experience due to less interaction with other children and teachers. The availability of technology and the pivot to online learning modalities has saved the U.S. students from a total backslide—an outcome that is not the case for many students worldwide.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33682/nwm1-72np