Abstract 433

Making Socially Accepting, Inclusive Classrooms (MOSAIC) Program: Integrating Classroom Behavioural Strategies Within Existing SEL Programs

Panel or Group Presentation:  Kristen Hudec, Miriam Miller, Amori Mikami, Julie Owens

Session A | 9:00 – 9:40 | Location: Room 1005


Many educators recognize the value of fostering caring and inclusive learning environments in which students actively participate, are motivated to learn, are socially engaged, and feel safe to take academic risks. At times, it can be challenging to create tolerant and socially accepting environments when students perceive their peers as “different.” Students’ behavior (e.g., difficulty learning, disruptive or off-­‐putting behavior) may contribute to peers’ perceptions and unwillingness to engage with their classmate. As such, Making Socially Accepting, Inclusive Classrooms (MOSAIC) is a classroom-­‐based approach to support teachers in creating a socially-­‐engaged classroom that is welcoming to children with various backgrounds and with different personal strengths.

MOSAIC provides teachers with a range of strategies to develop a classroom environment that promotes acceptance and inclusion, so all children, especially those at risk of being excluded, will have positive social experiences. To this end, MOSAIC offers strategies designed to reduce peers’ reputational bias towards children who may be different and to lessen negative social behaviours (e.g., disruptive, intrusive, aggressive) demonstrated by children who experience behavioral problems, such as Attention-­‐Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. MOSAIC emphasizes not only helping individual children who may struggle with appropriate social behaviour but also addressing the peer group’s perceptions and tolerance of children who are “different.” This integrated approach encourages a safe, collaborative environment in which all students gain social awareness and feel supported by classmates and teachers.

This presentation will explore how teachers may integrate a series of evidence-­‐based behavioural strategies within existing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs to foster inclusiveness. From our experience supporting teachers use of MOSAIC, we’ve observed that some behavioural strategies have prompted a strong reaction, particularly regarding reducing negative social behaviours in the classroom. As part of the presentation, we will describe the MOSAIC behavioural strategies and share differences noted in US schools compared to Canadian schools. Further, we will ask participants to consider any anticipated barriers or philosophical concerns with integrating MOSAIC into their classroom or school context. We will also seek participants’ reflections on strategies or activities that may facilitate the use of MOSAIC behavioural strategies within their classrooms or schools.

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