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International Symposium marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of CRN
Children in Societies with a Declining Birthrate- The Case of East Asian Countries -

Keynote Address

How to Cultivate the Childrenís Social Emotional Competence with the Support from Neuroscience

Yu Wei, Ph.D.
Research Center for Learning Science, Southeast University, Nanjing, China
Key Laboratory of Child Development and Learning Science, Ministry of Education, China

Nowadays, the increasingly advanced and prosperous society is faced with numerous chances, challenges and even risks. In such a context, childrenís education is of vital importance in preparing them, the propellants of the future society, for the future.

The establishment of educational policies and methods requires scientific research on education. Todayís research can benefit from the rapidly developing neuroscience, as from philosophy, psychology and cognitive science before. For more than 5 years, the knowledge in neuroscience has been transformed in our ďlearning by doingĀEscience education pilot programóa program aimed at promoting inquiry-based learning and teaching in kindergartens and primary schools in China. The paper discusses our ideas, practices, and some initial success in childrenís science education research and implementation based on neuroscience. This initiative suggests the importance of evidence-based education research in setting down and carrying out educational policies.

Neuroscience research has revealed that it is childrenís social emotional competence and not their IQ that can best indicate whether they will lead a happy and successful life in their future. The education received at his/her early stage of life is especially important to a childís development of social emotional competence. The special environment in which the only child lives and the dramatic changes brought about by a transforming society pose severe challenges to the development of his/her social ability. Unfortunately, the present school and family education has neglected this aspect; instead, they have been focusing on childrenís academic performance only, or worse, their scores in examinations. A reform can not sensibly be put off.

In view of Chinaís situation, we have listed, in the Content Standards of the ďlearning by doingĀEscience education pilot program, the content children are expected to learn concerning the social emotional competence with the emphasis on the fostering of childrenís empathy and self-esteem in their process of learning.
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