In other words, it can be criticized for being somewhat discursive and for not providing any form of comparative analysis.
Alternatively, one could argue that methodologically the research falls into the category of a case study, a legitimate form of intensive qualitative research. In the final analysis the article does provide some illuminating insights into the possibilities of literature for social and emotional development in gifted students.
Article 3: The Connection between Social-Emotional Learning and Learning Disabilities: Implications for Intervention by Maurice J. Elias.
The author of this article identifies a number of problematic social and emotional areas for the learning disabled or special needs student. These include the recognition of emotions in self and others; the regulation and management of strong emotions and the recognition of strengths and areas of need ( Elias, 2004). The article also reviews the literature and theoretical positions on this topic. Furthermore, the author suggests a number of interventions and therapeutic measures aimed at remedying these problematic areas and, by implication, helping the special needs student to express his or her talents more effectively.
From the outset the author addresses a central issue in this type of special needs student; namely that "...there is consensus that a common feature of most students with learning disabilities (LD) is that they have difficulties with social relationships" ( Elias, 2004). This includes the important aspect of social relationships with their peers; which is an essential component in their cognitive and intellectual development and is related to the expression and externalization of their talents. The author also stresses the important point that "the term "social-emotional learning" (SEL) was developed for use in research and practice in emotional intelligence as applied to the schools because it reflected a strong recognition of the role of both social and emotional factors in successful academic learning" ( Elias, 2004).
The value of this article lies as well in the comprehensive overview of the theoretical aspects and the way that this related to practical implications. For example, the author refers to an extensive listing of learning skills which include, respecting others and self and appreciating differences; approaching others and building positive relationships; resisting negative peer pressure; cooperating, negotiating, and managing conflict non-violently and showing ethical and social responsibility ( Elias, 2004). Elias also refers to three essential SEL principles which are:
Caring relationships are the foundation of all lasting learning.
Emotions affect how and what we learn.
Goal setting and problem solving provide focus, direction, and energy for learning.
( Elias, 2004).
The author emphasizes the importance of the establishment of a caring relationship with the student in order to facilitate emotional and social learning skills. Throughout the article the author also refers to the linkage between social and emotional skills and academic achievement.
Central to the discussion in this study is the view that a lack of social and emotional skills is reflected in inadequacies in other areas; such as the inability to understand history and current events, where the various social and emotional cues in literature and the media are not recognized by the student ( Elias, 2004). It was found that difficulties were experienced in "... taking others' perspective, realizing how different understandings of events unfold over time, discerning the varying motives that different groups and individuals might have concerning the same event, and challenges in reconciling different historical points-of-view"( Elias, 2004).This of course also applies to difficulties that may be experienced in social relationships.
In order to deal with these problems, the author suggests that in the first instance these inabilities and difficulties in the student must be recognized by the teacher or the therapist. Once they have been recognized, a responsive and caring approach should be taken. The teacher becomes involved in the process of articulating "... The strategies that students must use when they feel the strong feelings that are preventing them from learning effectively..."( Elias, 2004). Furthermore, the teacher should help the student to recognize his or her strengths. This can go a long way to reducing any sense of guilt or inadequacy.
While this study does not provide any quantitative methodology or strategy it does provide a comprehensive overview of the theoretical aspects of the problems and the way that these problems can be addressed by the teacher. What is clearly implied throughout is that the innate talents and abilities of the special needs student enhanced by the caring and responsive techniques and strategies on the part of the teacher.
It could be argued that this study is possibly not as rigorous and methodologically intensive as the first article discussed in the present paper. However, what is clear from an analysis of the study by Elias is that the author provides a comparatively comprehensive overview of the issues and problems at stake and also supports this with practical examples of methods