The EAPRIl 2009 conference,

known as the Practice-Based and Practitioner Research conference

Theme 'Improving Social Competences and Network Learning in education and professional practice'.

18 until 20 November 2009

Trier, Germany.





Modern society is facing many challenges, putting schools under pressure to create effective learning environments where students can acquire social as well as academic skills that will allow them to succeed in school and beyond. Institutes are forced to implement rapid changes and innovations, keeping into account the increasingly diverse population.  Many practitioners and researchers are developing and applying usable knowledge to improve the quality of educational practice and policy. This conference offered a platform to organize and disseminate information and knowledge that illuminates our long-range understanding of learning processes.

The central task for educational processes is to convey factual competences as well as personality-development. The core of personality-development is the development of social competences, for example empathy, problem-solving ability, ability to cooperate and communicate. Those abilities insure the coping of social and personal needs as acting in a context of globalization and modernization, fulfillment of the individual, psychically and physically unbiased, socially and job-market-related integrated way of life.

For this conference we chose a broad definition of "social competence", all forms of individual self regulation can be interpreted as the core of social development. So social competence can be interpreted as a subconstruct of the theoretical construct of "competence" and includes all forms of "personal competencies". According to DuBois/Felner (1996/2006), it is created by the linked elements "cognitive skills and abilities", "behavioral skills", "emotional competencies" and "motivational skills and expectancy sets".

The underlying question of this conference was, how to promote social competencies, for instance setting and achieving goals, self-management, models of communication, win-win-strategies, forms of cooperation, team-building- and team-development-processes, etc. Despite a clear approval of educational policy towards conveying social competencies in schools and at universities, research in this area is neglected due to predominance of a debate that favors the achievements in certain subjects (factual competencies).

With this conference, we wanted to strengthen the research and teaching/learning practice in this fascinating area. All contributions concerning self regulation, motivation, cognitive and emotional development, behavioral skills, self- and social expectancies e, g. were warmly welcomed.