Focus on EQ: What is Social Emotional Learning?
Focus on EQ: What is Social Emotional Learning? As we start the new school year, it’s worth asking ourselves, “what are the most important skills we want our students to gain? What do we hope they will be able to do by the time they graduate? What do we wish for them as adults? Are we teaching them these skills?” Back in 1997, Maurice Elias, a pioneer in the burgeoning field of social emotional learning (SEL), stressed that schools play a critical role in preparing students to be knowledgeable, responsible, and caring. Beyond these words, he added, lay an educational challenge. In the blog series, Focus on EQ, we’ll be taking up this challenge and sharing our thinking and feeling about emotional intelligence and its educational application, social emotional learning, or SEL. I hope you will contribute your thoughts, feelings, and questions in the comments section below. What is SEL?
- a foundational set of skills that are learnable and that help kids develop self-awareness, healthy relationships, and decision making ability, enabling them to strive for and reach their goals.
- an intentional process for helping students develop these competencies needed for life effectiveness.
- Are integrated into the school climate and culture, with a shared mission and vocabulary, and extend to all staff, parents, and community
- Require classroom environments that are engaging, where educators ask students meaningful questions and encourage them to take ownership of their learning and behavior
- Include direct instruction of competencies in a way that’s developmentally sound, systematic, and use valid measures
- What competencies are involved in this brief class meeting exercise?
- What do you think are the most important skills students are learning and practicing here?
- What do you envision are the benefits?
Researchers have been able to show powerful benefits of SEL across many different programs and approaches. Through a meta-analysis of 213 programs and over 270,000 students, researchers found that SEL improves students’ positive attitudes and greatly reduces problematic and risky behavior. They found that SEL is associated with significant improvements in students’ academic performance (11% on standardized tests) and engagement with school (CASEL.org). Three tips for using SEL in your classroom or school this month: 1) "Read all about it" To be effective, commit to learning more about EQ and SEL. Develop your expertise so you can become an “EQ” champion in your classroom or school. Talk about it with your students, parents, and colleagues and find out what skills they think are important. Explore the many resources available on websites such as Edutopia, CASEL, and Six Seconds. Engage with others on this blog. 2) "Everyone on the same page" Develop a shared SEL vocabulary in your classroom or program. Use concepts such Check-ins, Empathy, Decoding Emotions, or Optimism on a daily basis. Integrate them into your lessons and talks with students. With students, create models for communication, problem solving and conflict resolution and post them, using SEL-related phrases, such as “no killer statements,” “use I-messages” or “I need an ally.” Seek out curricula that support your interests, your particular “burger” filling. Involve parents, other teachers, counselors, and administrators in your SEL program, ask them to work with you, and see them as critical partners. 3) "Create an SEL Learning Community" Use class meetings or advisory groups to talk about common student issues from an SEL framework and with shared vocabulary. Ask for student input on their main concerns. Talk about and roleplay ways learning SEL skills may help with:
Social and emotional factors are the drivers or limiters of learning. When children (and the adults who support them) are engaged, curious, safe, and thriving, then they achieve.
- doing homework
- feeling motivated
- overcoming obstacles and not giving up
- making and keeping friends
- solving conflicts
- problem solving
- relieving stress