Today our specialist, Monica Kurtz gives us her thoughts on trauma and the importance of teaching Social Emotional Learning in our schools.
School shootings. Outrage. Fear. Helplessness. My newsfeed is filled with almost daily reports of another shooting, more victims. More death. Working in a school, particularly in behavior, I have worked with students that scare me. I can envision a dark future that involves them, weapons and widespread destruction. How do we combat that darkness? I’m not the only person asking that question.
Good educators know that each and every day is a new experience for your students, and a new chance to build relationships. Just like in their academic work, students need consistency and regular routines to help them build their emotions, social skills, and community building skills. Behavior Check-Ins are a great way to help this process.
A Behavior Check-In is a super simple process that has positive effects on your students’ social emotional skills. It provides students with the chance to take an “emotional inventory” of their day so far and share it with the group.
If you’ve been in education for any amount of time, you’ve likely heard the words “Social Emotional Learning” before. It’s not a new concept, Social Emotional Learning (or SEL for short), has been around for years, but has just recently started to gain respect, attention, and importance in the world of education.
SEL, as defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional, Learning is “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
That’s a mouthful, but it contains a lot of really useful information. In a nutshell, SEL is all about understanding how people grow and learn socially and emotionally by looking at the daily interactions and experiences that influence their emotions, behavior, and thereby affect their choices.
This student project stemmed from an 8th grade language arts class at Liberty Middle School in Madison, Alabama, reading The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. We spent many months discussing how we can “shatter” stereotypes in our society. The video features “Iron Doors” by The Lighthouse and the Whaler. – Ambra Johnson, language arts teacher
What other books and/or subjects would you be willing to try this with?