The Journeys approach to building a safe, inclusive and positive school and fostering social and emotional learning

Certain conditions of the school and classroom environment—such as encouraging and appreciative classrooms, physical and emotional safety and responsiveness to diversity, among others—positively support students’ social and emotional learning (SEL). Therefore, SEL programming that provides both instruction to students and also serves to establish the school and classroom conditions that support SEL are recommended—that is, blended approaches. With funding from USAID/Uganda under the Literacy Achievement and Retention Activity, RTI International, in partnership with the Uganda Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES), developed a blended approach to SEL programming, which is the Journeys approach. The Journeys approach involves co-curricular activities that serve to directly strengthen students’ social and emotional (SE) skills. At the same time, it inspires and guides school staff and community members in establishing the learning conditions that foster SEL. The Journeys activities for students, school staff and community members apply a variety of awareness-building social technologies—such as guided reflection, dialogue, interactive games, and art and drama—to enable independent thinking about the nature and obstacles to a positive school climate and how to establish classrooms and out-of-classroom environments that foster SEL.