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How Can Teachers Integrate Social Emotional Learning in Their Classrooms?

Social emotional learning provides children with a guide to a better life. It teaches them how to better handle their emotions, and deal with people & situations around them. Every student is different and each student starts at a certain level of social and emotional skills. Keeping that in mind, teachers should integrate social-emotional learning in their lessons every day. When they see how they can use the SEL teachings in a real-life situation, they will be more effective in implementing them in their own life. Here is how teachers can integrate social emotional learning in their classrooms.

Creating a Habit of Writing

Journal writing is one of the most potent forms of getting in touch with our feelings. Writing helps us put things in perspective. Teachers should help their students create a habit of writing a daily journal. They can let them write a summary of their day or they can pose questions to them everyday that they should answer in their journal. These questions can look something like this – “What is the one thing that the school day taught you?” or “Did you help someone in need?” or “What made you happy today?”, or something else that makes the student think about their actions throughout the day and learn from it.

Class Meet Ups

Teachers should start the day with a class meeting where everyone sits together and make mutual decisions about the upcoming activities or events. This is also the breather that the students can take to know each other. Teachers can shuffle students and form different teams to take care of different class affairs, take this opportunity to introduce new students, knowing each other, and so on. Such a meet up will create a sense of camaraderie among students. Their class will become their family away from home. This will promote a positive environment in the class where students who find it difficult to communicate will feel involved.

Delegating Responsibilities

Teachers should rotate responsibilities among students to make sure that everybody feels included. The responsibilities can be maintaining the class decorum, keeping the class clean, decorating the class board, collecting assignments, or something else. It is important that every student gets the chance. When kids take such positions of authority, they start to appreciate the position of their teachers and parents. Such an inclusive approach helps the students not only value themselves, but also know that they are a part of a larger community that is looking out for them.

Making it Possible

With every teacher and student interaction, the student gets a small lesson on social and emotional learning. It is important for schools to realize that teachers need specialized tools to be more effective. Structured programs like SEL Adventures provides students exactly that. These programs contain classroom lectures, activities, and take a gamified approach to assist teachers in creating a more aware, responsible, and successful next generation.

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Part I: How Implementing SEL In Schools Can Change an Entire Generation

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is becoming a focus in the academia. At national, state and local level, educators have recognized the importance of SEL and its pivotal role in the wholesome development of children. According to the Nobel Prize Winner, James Heckman, “nurturing children’s non-cognitive skills, giving them social, emotional and behavioral benefits that lead to success later in life” are the best returns from the investment in education. So, experts already believe in the power of structure social-emotional programs like SEL Adventures to enable children to achieve their full potential. Here is how such a program can completely change a generation.

Improved Academic Results

SEL helps students to do well in academics. When they have a positive and supportive environment around them at school, they like attending classes and working with other students. SEL also helps students to forge better relationships with teachers, so they are not scared of them. This environment allows them to be more inquisitive about the subjects they are taught and more open about the problems they are facing. Such a positive environment, helps students perform better at academics.

Visible Positive Behavior

When the student has a support system at school comprising of other students and teachers, they stay happy. SEL helps build such a support system by helping students learn empathy and understand others better. They are not facing bullying, they are open about their issues and getting help for them, and they are comfortable in their own skin. Developing such positive behavior early on in life keeps them away from psychological issues like depression, anxiety, and stress at a young age and even later in life.

Staying Away from Addiction

With SEL teachings, students become better communicators and manage their emotions more effectively. Parents, teachers, and students find it easier to be on the same page. Moreover, students also experience a camaraderie with other students. A student resorts to addiction either under peer pressure or to stay away from their reality. With SEL, students are not confused about who they are and understand what’s good and bad for them. Moreover, they never feel alone because they know they always have someone to talk to. This eliminates a need for substance abuse. This single factor can save thousands of students across United States from wasting away their life and doing something worthwhile.

Creating Better People

Programs like SEL Adventures provide easy and effective ways of appealing to students. The video sessions and classroom activities help them learn important life skills early on in life. So, when they go out in the real world, they do not feel disillusioned or unprepared in any way. Their SEL Adventure programs have taught them to better communicate, better handle their emotions, better understand other people, and overall, become better people. With programs like SEL Adventures, a student can make their life much better than they can without it. Extrapolate it to all the schools in the US, and you an entire generation of socially and emotionally students who can now become the best versions of themselves. That’s a feat!

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Part II: How Can Teachers Encourage Students to be More Emotionally Expressive?

Processing the emotions we experience towards people and situations in our life can make a significant difference in the quality of life we lead. Social-emotional learning can help students understand the emotions they feel and then respond to them in a healthy way. Programs like SEL Adventures provide teachers a structure and the tools they need to help their students learn this critical life skill.

Creating an Open Culture

It is entirely in the hands of teachers to determine the culture they want to propagate in their classroom. They should create an environment where their students can openly voice the emotions they are feeling and have a peaceful conversation about it. Instead of asking them to ‘not cry like a girl’ or ‘behave like a lady’, teachers should learn to address different situations involving different students. When students do not have to resort to shouting or violence just to voice their opinions, it uplifts the climate of the whole school.

Stop Ignoring

Ignoring emotions and directly jumping into advising can be a rookie mistake. Teachers see their students every day and they know when a student is behaving differently. Instead of directly going into a bit of life advice, the teacher should first acknowledge that the child is undergoing emotional stress. It is essential first to let the child speak, ask them questions to understand the authenticity of their claims, and then empathize with them. If necessary, the teacher can then provide the student with some advice to get out of the situation. But, most of the times, students are just looking for an ear to listen to them.

Reinforcing with Rewards

Opening up to a teacher is not easy for a student. So, if a student is showing emotions, then the teacher should encourage this behavior. A pat on the back, few words of praise, or anything else works. It should be enough to communicate to the student that sharing an emotion was brave. This will encourage this behavior among other students too, and emoting won’t be a taboo.

Add it to the Curriculum

Teachers are busy. So, it is understandable that between preparing for classes, taking classes, scoring tests, and reviewing assignments, they do not always find time to talk freely with their students. So, they should work towards making social-emotional learning a part of the formal curriculum. SEL will help them get the dedicated time they need with their students, provide them with effective tools to deal with students’ emotions, and make sure that students appreciate the importance of emoting.

Make Students Emotionally Expressive

Learning to deal with their emotions at such a formative age can be life-changing for students, and teachers are placed well to be the agents of this change. Teachers are one of the biggest influencers in a child’s life. They can multiply that influence with structured SEL programs like SEL Adventures. The program gives them a direction, the content, and the activities they can use to help their students become more emotionally expressive.

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Part I: What Tools Do Students Need to Become Good Future Planners?

It is no secret that teaching kids how to plan is a step towards ensuring that they are successful in the future. So, it is clearly important. Teachers, parents and schools have to ensure that their students have all the tools to ensure that they can put together a good future plan. What are those tools and how can the adults train the children to use them? Let’s find out.

Thinking Ahead

It is imperative that teachers and parents demand of students to have some kind of a plan in place for the day or the week. Provide them a diary, white board or a smart screen where they can jot down a rudimentary plan. Since it is the beginning, the plan need not be extensive, but it needs to be written down. It will make students start thinking about their day. As the exercise goes on, they will be able to hone the skill, think more clearly, and plan more precisely.

Time Management

Future Planning requires a good sense of time management, which students have to learn. Even adults have a difficult time dividing their time between different activities. So, teaching children time management can be the difference between their success and failure in life. Parents should ask kids to set their times for meals, bedtime, studies, and more. Reward them to sticking to their schedules. This will help them connect time management to a rewarding behavior and encourage them to develop it as a skill.

Organization

Another important aspect of raising good future planners is learning the art of organization. Ask your children to organize their books, toys, video games, or any other part of their life. Teachers can create games that require students to learn skills of organization in class. Introduce them to different methods of organization and let them create some of their own.

When kids learn to organize, it is easier for them to stick to the ambitious future plan with ease. They learn how to compartmentalize and gain clarity where most untrained minds can’t. This helps them to create a foundation to build a future on.

Future Planners Start Today

Arming students of today with the right tools to plan their future is a gift. It is common for kids to dream to become astronauts, international players, doctors, engineers, artists, and more. However, when they know how to do future planning, they can actually chart out a course to becoming one. When they do, they also unravel the skills they need to be a part of these professions. This is huge because they are then better placed to switch their decisions and pick a path more suited to their strengths.

Teachers and parents need to help their students find their talent for future planning. They can also take help from structured programs like SEL Adventures to teach these skills more effectively.

The program on Future Planning is one of the skills present in the SEL Adventures Addiction Prevention Program and it contains lessons on the basics of planning, establishing goals, and achieving them. It helps students envision a future and understand the significance of staying away from addictive substance and anti-social elements. Good future planning is a potent skill and can transform the way our children lead their lives. It is essential that the skill is taught.

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