SSLD and Settlement

A. Ka Tat Tsang
January 2013

Globalization involves the movement of people, ideas, goods and services across national borders. Whereas information technology has allowed or facilitated unprecedented movement of ideas, goods, and services that do not depend on physical trips made by people, we still see a growing number of people resettling in other countries.

When people decide to move and settle in a new country, they are usually motivated by the promise of a better life. Immigrants and new settlers usually imagine that life will be better by comparison to their current circumstances, or what life will be if they do not leave, such as anticipated political turmoil, war, or economic downturn.

The quest for better life entails effective attainment of desired goals, so that the needs of the immigrants and those they care about can be met. Immigrants, however, often suffer from misinformation, misassessment, and miscalculation in the process. Some people, for example, do not have accurate knowledge of the new country. Others may be overly optimistic about their chances of realizing their goals. Many immigrants do not really have a good idea of what it takes to do well in the new country, and have not prepared themselves in some of the most important skills required.

SSLD (Strategies and Skills Learning and Development) is a learning system that enables people to gain a better understanding of their own needs, characteristics and personality, as well as a good assessment of their own circumstances. This understanding will guide their learning and development of new strategies and skills required to address their needs effectively. The learning process involves acquiring new information, new perspective, strategic thinking, and social and interpersonal skills. Learners will also develop strategies for managing their emotions. Successful application of the SSLD system will allow learners to achieve better self-understanding, self-confidence, improved interpersonal relationship, and enhanced social functioning in the new environment.

SSLD supports a positive settlement process characterized by learning, development, personal growth, and a sense of well-being, instead of defeat, frustration, loss, helplessness, self-doubt, remorse, resentment, bitterness, withdrawal or isolation. The immigrant should be able to feel sufficiently empowered to function effectively in the new environment, and make active contribution to build a better community.

The SSLD System is used in the design of direct practice modules of the Certificate Program in Settlement Practice, offered by the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, through their Continuing Education Programs.

Settlement Practice: the SSLD Approach (2012)

Settlement Service


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