What makes us humans?
Our ability to think, show empathy, manage emotions, and balanced social behavior.
School curricula are designed to meet the psychological growth of children, to enable them with tools to advance academically and excel in the professional sphere. Yet, acing the professional game is not adequate to live a wholesome life. Emotional intelligence and social adaptability are key factors that contribute to a balanced and happy life.
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a branch of the curriculum that teaches skills and habits to assist children in adjusting to trying situations and preparing them for collaborative tasks.
SEL teaches children to feel and practice compassion, manage emotions, build meaningful relationships, and function as social beings. After all, companies look for appropriate technical skills while hiring employees, but they also filter candidates based on skills like emotional capacity and social adjustment quotients.
Why is Social-Emotional Learning an Indispensable Fraction of Education in 2022?
The modern world is a fragmented and competitive space where individual achievements precede all humanitarian aspects. It has naturally led to people feeling stress, anxiety, and loneliness.
The pandemic and numerous lockdowns with absent or almost nil physical interactions have further worsened the mental, emotional, and social health of several people.
People around us struggle to grapple with alienation, loss, frustration, depression, and other mental health problems while tackling their professional lives.
SEL can play a crucial role in such a negative and constricting environment to help connect with others, work on our emotional and mental well-being and contribute as responsible citizens of our society.
The post-pandemic world has brought forward such trying times that it is the prime time to introduce this discourse in school curricula.
SEL programs are beneficial for students and teachers alike. They allow teachers and students to connect personally, which gives both the participants the space to express and address their concerns.
Thus, such an arrangement proves to be the right tool to manage stress, learn compassion, deal with problems, negotiate with people and adapt and adjust.
Components of Social-Emotional Learning
There are five core components of social-emotional learning as recognized by The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning:
- Self-awareness – Understanding one’s own emotions.
- Self-management – Successful management of emotions and the ability to behave according to societal norms.
- Social awareness – Understanding one’s position within society and being aware of others’ positions.
- Relationship skills – Nurturing healthy relationships and developing communication skills.
- Responsible decision-making – Cultivating a sense of accountability and problem-solving skills.
These five key elements assist schools in formulating their SEL curriculum to nurture socially and emotionally competent individuals.
Benefits of SEL
Social-emotional learning is making a wave in the education world, and it is for all the right reasons:
- Kindness is fast disappearing in this alienated and self-centered world. SEL nurtures compassion, sympathy, and empathy in individuals.
- Along with psychological and academic development, curriculum including SEL contributes to emotional and social growth. It leads to the holistic development of individuals.
- It is proven that an SEL program that inculcates feelings of empathy and understanding can eliminate conflicts and other vices like violence and bullying.
- As SEL helps in problem-solving and teaches students to address their shortcomings, it affords them the mental space and positive attitude to learn new things.
- SEL also promotes the management of emotions, which fosters fulfilling relationships and shows constrained and accepted social behavior in individuals.
- Being emotionally competent also contributes to a sense of accountability among people who will be more inclined towards intelligent and informed decision-making.
How to Implement SEL in Your Curriculum?
Now that you know what SEL is and its importance in today’s age, let us look at how we can implement social-emotional learning in the littlest ways possible to enjoy its wholesome impact.
- Incorporate Check-In Sessions
Including one-on-one connections with students or a question-answer session at the beginning of a class are great ways to communicate with students and learn about them on a deeper level.
One-on-one sessions enable students to express themselves more openly and thus give teachers an avenue to address their concerns on a personal level.
A group discussion allows students to learn about their peers, build a sense of empathy, and relate with others.
- Inculcate a Feeling of Community
Team activities and discussions can nurture fellow-feeling among peers and initiate smooth communication with others in the process.
Group work teaches students to be attentive, deal with peer pressure, handle conflict, work on their weaknesses, learn collaborative attitudes, and develop leadership and communication skills.
- Work on Peer Conflicts
Any group work would inevitably lead to conflicts among peers.
SEL adapts a conflict-solving attitude, in which students who are engaged in the conflict gather in an intimate atmosphere, where they can voice their sides of the story and work on their dispute to come to a mutual understanding.
This exercise plants the habits of listening to others, understanding and respecting opposing perspectives, and steering away from problems toward solutions.
- Conduct a Check-out Session
Instead of beginning the day with a check-in connection, you can also incorporate a check-out meeting with the students. It gives learners a scope to vent out their feelings, frustrations, and anxiety that builds up throughout the day.
A teacher can address these issues before they go back for the day. Thus, SEL can be purging for the students and allow them to continue with their day with a positive attitude.
Human beings are social animals, and SEL helps people fulfill their social needs. It lays the foundation for good practices like empathizing with others, working in teams, being disciplined, and having a core work ethic.
Having SEL in the school curriculum creates a thriving atmosphere of fraternity and equality in the classroom so that when the students graduate, they take it to the bigger world.
In the post-pandemic world, schools are implementing SEL in their curriculum to help learners cope with the astronomical changes in society and personal lives.
Social-emotional learning breeds positive emotional and social attitudes from childhood that help people succeed in their personal and professional journeys. It is the need of the hour.
It can help students navigate mental health struggles, establish healthy boundaries and learn to build stable relationships, which will foster a good emotional space for them, one suitable to sustain learning, growth, and performance. To know more, please write to us at KITABOO@hurix.com
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