This is the second post in a series stemming from my participation in the Courageous Schools conference on May 18, 2013 in NYC. The big ‘ahas’ that I took away from this conference included:
- Courageous Actions
- The Whole Child
- Importance of Storytelling
Let’s talk about the ‘Whole Child’… Throughout the day during the conference mentioned above there was a focus on the whole child, and specifically the detrimental affects of high-stakes testing on the social emotional well-being of our students (and staff).
The idea of course is that as educators we can’t just focus on the child’s brain (academic growth), but also need to focus their social and emotional well-being and growth. We know that students, and adults, come to us with many different needs and experiences. In order to nurture a student and create a true learning environment we need students who can communicate effectively, collaborate successfully with others, persevere through problems and do all this in a socially safe and accepting learning environment. This concept is called Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and has five competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision-making. Check out this video for a brief overview of SEL:
Of course this isn’t new, we’ve known this for a long time. When you create a learning community that is built on respect and provides students with experiences to build relationships with one another it goes a long way to setting the stage for SEL.
Learn more about it:
- CASEL: Collaborative for Academic Social Emotional Learning
- National School Climate Center: Climate Matters!
- Five Simple Techniques to Incorporate Social and Emotional Learning I really like the piece on ‘building emotional capital’ in ourselves, as well as our students. Happy teachers support happy growing students; we can’t lose sight of how important a teacher’s attitude and their belief in themselves is. As leaders we need to nurture them so they can in turn nurture their students.
- Daniel Goleman: Social and Emotional Learning