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
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Peer pressure is a part of a teenager’s life. But,
teachers and parents can empower students with the tools they need to combat
this peer pressure and use it in their best interests.
Peer pressure is real, and it’s powerful. It can be as innocuous
as keeping up with the fashion trends in the middle school or as threatening as
sliding into drug abuse. While students cope with peer pressure in different
ways, the onus falls on the parents and teachers to guide them in the right
direction. Parents and teachers should spread awareness among students about
the support system they have access to and teach them to tap into those
resources at the right time.
Recognize it Exists
The first step for parents and teachers towards helping a
student is to identify with their situation. Denying the existence of peer
pressure or underplaying it does not help. If anything, it will drive the child
away from you. They will not relate with your advice, or worse, recognize you
as a reliable source of information. So, the first step adults can take to help
students resist peer pressure is to acknowledge its existence.
Helping them Spot the Difference
Teachers and parents should help students spot the
difference between negative and positive peer pressure. They should know that
there is a clear demarcation between a peer pushing them to become a better
athlete and another forcing them to take up performance-enhancing drugs. A good
move would be to implement programs like SEL Adventures at school that help
students clearly demarcate between positive and negative peer relationships.
These programs give students all the tools they need to make better choices.
Applying Positive Pressure
Middle school is a time when most parents think that their
kids are turning rebellious. However, it is common at this age for children to
either imitate their parents, do activities to get their attention, or indulge
in things that please their parents. So, parents must identify the kind of
power they wield over their child too. Once they do, they can use this power to
help their children become better at academics, become more active on the
playground, and stand up for themselves against a bully.
Lastly, parents and teachers should express confidence in
their kids. Students should know that there is always somebody to listen to
them, and somebody they can go back to even if they fail. This confidence
increases their confidence in themselves and minimizes the influence of peers
on their life.
Show Them the Way
Parents and teachers are an important contributor to the
life of a child. They can share their own experiences, give students a
comforting ear, or act as a guide in their formative years. Apart from this,
investing in programs like SEL Adventures provides the students with structured
information on how to tackle their everyday peer pressures.
Peer pressure is a reality for every middle-schooler. Parents and teachers should pressure-mold the students to make them a productive member of society and not the opposite.