Discussion Formats for Addressing Emotions: Implications for Social-Emotional Learning

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Eran Hakim
Adam Lefstein
Hadar Netz


Scholars of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) advocate discussion as a promising instructional method yet rarely specify how such discussions should be conducted. Facilitating classroom discussions is highly challenging, particularly about emotions. Furthermore, the SEL literature contains contradictory discursive imperatives; it typically overlooks the gaps between students’ and teachers’ emotional codes and how these codes are shaped by culture, class, and gender. The current study explores different ways in which teachers facilitate classroom dialogue about emotions. We analyze data drawn from a two-year ethnographic study conducted as part of a design-based implementation research project aimed at fostering productive dialogue in primary language arts classrooms, looking in particular at two lessons centered around a story about crying. We found two different interactional genres for discussions about emotions: (1) inclusive emotional dialogue, in which students share emotions experienced in their everyday lives; (2) emotional inquiry, in which students explore emotions, their expressions, and their social meanings. Both types of discussion generated informative exchanges about students’ emotions. Yet the discussions also put the teacher and students in challenging positions, often related to the need to navigate between contradictory discursive norms and emotional codes.

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How to Cite
Hakim, E., Lefstein, A., & Netz, H. (2024). Discussion Formats for Addressing Emotions: Implications for Social-Emotional Learning. Dialogic Pedagogy: A Journal for Studies of Dialogic Education, 12(1), A16-A38. https://doi.org/10.5195/dpj.2024.558
Author Biographies

Eran Hakim, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Eran Hakim is an anthropologist of education whose research focuses on the social and emotional lives of children in schools with a particular emphasis on school bullying and the overall wellbeing of children within educational settings.

Adam Lefstein, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Adam Lefstein is the Morton L. Mandel Director of the Seymour Fox School of Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research and teaching focus on pedagogy, classroom interaction, teacher learning, and educational change. He is particularly interested in the intersection between research and professional practice and how to conduct research that is meaningful, rigorous, and helpful for educators.

Hadar Netz, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Hadar Netz is a senior lecturer in the Program for Multilingual Education at the School of Education, Tel-Aviv University, Israel. She is a discourse analyst conducting research across diverse educational contexts and genres. Her areas of expertise encompass classroom interactions, children’s literature, and the dynamics of digital communication within social media platforms. (ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9315-5911).


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