Children’s Social–Emotional Development: The Power of Pedagogical Storytelling

Maya Gunawardena, Merja Koivula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research shows social–emotional learning (SEL) affects young students’ positive behavior which influences students’ academic achievement as well as their well-being. Australian primary school teachers use diverse pedagogical practices and whole-school approaches to promote SEL. This qualitative study enquired about two popular approaches to SEL: whole-school approaches and pedagogical storytelling. The study thematically analyzed in-depth semi-structured interviews with eight primary school teachers and their classroom episodes of pedagogical storytelling interventions. The study found the whole-school approaches such as Positive Behavior for Learning and the Berry Street Education Model to achieve SEL were used to discipline students. Teachers also used pedagogical stories to promote SEL and increase students’ positive behavior. This study highlighted the tremendous power within stories for igniting in-depth discussion to influence SEL. Pedagogical stories provide useful sources to foster children’s emotional wisdom for self-awareness, social awareness, relationship building, and decision making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Early Childhood
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Dec 2023


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