5 Keys to Social and Emotional Learning Success

5 Keys to Social and Emotional Learning Success

November 24, 2019 17 By Stanley Isaacs


>>Pamela: Social-Emotional skills
are the essential skills for success in school, work and life.>>Natalie: Social-Emotional
learning centers their mind and body. It reduces their emotional
tension, so they can be open to new content and material. We find that academic
outcomes increase exponentially when students are nurtured,
loved and cared for. That we get much more out of them when we first address
social-emotional needs. So for us, it’s actually
an academic intervention, and not just an emotional one.>>Pamela: If we expect students
to be college and career ready, it’s important for us to focus
on these skills and competencies: Self-Awareness; Self-Management;
Social Awareness; Relationship Skills; and
Responsible Decision-Making. Self-Awareness is the ability
to identify your emotions. To be able to tie thoughts
and feelings to behaviors.>>Natalie: We find that
Self-Awareness is one of the hardest things
for young people. Being aware of their own body
space, and the impact of their words and emotions on other people. So a lot of the work
we do is reflective, through conflict mediation,
through circles, through journaling. Having them see their own impact on
the world, and then how to shift that or make a different choice next time.>>Pamela: Self-Management is
the ability to self-motivate, to have self-control, to
regulate one’s emotions.>>Natalie: In a classroom, that
may be a breathing exercise, or that might be counting
to five, or taking a break.>>Rose: So with students who
don’t really know how to deal with their anger, or don’t really
know how to resolve conflict, we’re giving them a tool
that helps them deal with it in a less stressful way.>>Pamela: Social Awareness
is about embracing diversity, showing empathy for others. Activities might include
service learning projects. Addressing social justice issues. Role playing is a great
opportunity for students to address how a person might have
felt in a conflict on the playground.>>Teacher: We’re going to see
if other people have had some of the very same experiences
around bullying that we’ve had.>>Student: You’re in my boat
if you have a bully now.>>Pamela: Relationship Skills are
important in project-based learning. It’s the ability to
work cooperatively with someone, to resolve conflict.>>Natalie: It’s the one skill
you need your whole life. You may not need calculus tomorrow,
but you have to know how to work in a relationship, whether it’s
for a co-worker, or a life partner. You have to know how
to handle conflict, and how to handle challenges.>>Student: Sometimes at
recess Maya would come over and like just start talking
about us, and saying mean things.>>Natalie: Is it your job to
make Denay’s job at school hard?>>Student: No. I know it’s a form of bullying. And sometimes I’ll
say, “Sorry” to her.>>Natalie: So you choose
to be someone’s ally, and make a better choice.>>Pamela: Responsible Decision-Making
is considering the well-being for self and others. It’s evaluating the consequences
for various behaviors or actions. We do this through shared agreements. One-to-one problem-solving, or
having students debate an issue.>>Teacher: If you were
like, “Hey, Kashida, can I– how much does an egg
cost in this class?” And you like took out your
wallet, and I was like, “Eh, I think fifty bucks would work.” Which one of us would
be corrupt in that case?>>Rebecca: We’re truly teaching these
students to be productive citizens. We’re teaching them life skills. We’re teaching them how to
problem-solve effectively. We’re teaching them
how to be resilient.>>Carlos: I think of all the billions
of dollars we’ve spent on Title One, and all these intervention programs. And when all is said and done,
what do we have to show for it? I think we’re, you know, we’re trying
to teach technical things instead of devoting some of the resources
to teach who you are as a person. Once you know who you are,
then learning becomes exciting, because you’ve already
established a discipline.>>Pamela: It’s important for
teachers and Principals to understand that it can’t be a
binder off the shelf. It can’t be something that
happens from 2:15 to 4:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It has to be part of
the school culture.>>Natalie: Giving teachers
flexibility, giving them a range of skills, giving them different ways
that it can look, and allowing them to take their own personality
and match that to what they want in their classroom has been the best
way to get authentic true practice.>>Carlos: If we continue to
do what we’ve always done, we’re always gonna get
what we always got. Is that good enough? I don’t think it’s good
enough for the 21st Century. We need to be the outliers
to try things that have never been
tried, and see if they work. What are waiting for?