The Taxonomy Project will create a platform that showcases the points of alignment and divergence across social and emotional learning frameworks and does so in a way that enables those doing the work of the field to both identify common ground and to see what is distinct within any particular framework.
In its history, the field of social-emotional learning (SEL) has been defined or characterized in a variety of ways. In some respects, the term “social and emotional learning” serves as an umbrella for many subfields with which many educators, researchers, and policy-makers are familiar (e.g., bullying prevention, civic and character education and development, conflict resolution, social skills training, life skills, “soft” or “non-cognitive” skills, 21st century skills). However, the national discussion of this domain lacks clarity about what we mean and is beset by dilemmas about how best to measure and promote skills in this area. Underlying this challenge, and in some ways compounding it, is the fact that the field more generally is structured around a large number of organizational systems or frameworks.
Jones and team have designed the Taxonomy Project with the goal of producing a set of open-source, online interactive tools to help researchers, educators, policy-makers, funders, and other stakeholders to better navigate the broad field of SEL or "non-cognitive" development. The project will produce: (1) a coding system that can be used to identify common elements across frameworks and to highlight what is unique within a particular framework, (2) an online Thesaurus that includes information about various skills (e.g., self-control, empathy, cognitive flexibility) and how it relates to other skills and terms used by researchers and educators, and (3) a set of interactive visual illustrations that enable stakeholders to see and understand key similarities or differences across frameworks and between discrete SEL skills.
Todd Rose, Harvard Graduate School of Education