Learning to Improve Academic and Social-Emotional Outcomes
Rigorous education research in crisis-affected countries has not improved commensurately to demand and need. Children living in such contexts suffer from unspeakable adversities that can result in a “toxic stress” response, disrupting healthy brain development and affecting their behavior, health, relationships and abilities to learn. Research in stable contexts shows that quality education with social-emotional learning opportunities can mitigate the impact of toxic stress – but given the dearth of research to date in crisis-affected countries, it's not known whether, or how, this holds true for children affected by crisis.
To address this lack of evidence, between 2011 and 2015, the first large-scale evaluation of a classroom social-emotional learning (SEL) intervention in a crisis-affected context was undertaken in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The results of the evaluation indicate that the Learning in Healing Classrooms (LIHC) approach does show promise: after one year of implementation in two different cohorts, LIHC increased the supportiveness of teachers and schools, while also improving literacy and numeracy skills.