Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools

Empathy

10

Sep

Study: SEL Tends to Produce More Engaged Citizens, Increased Voter Turnout

Summary:  This article reports on anew Princeton study examined the long-term effects of a 20-year-old program known as Fast Track, one of the earliest and largest programs designed to improve life outcomes for at-risk students by teaching psychosocial skills.  The study found benefits gained from teaching SEL in a variety of categories.

Source:  Amelia Harper, Education DIVE, September 5, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, Empathy, Emotional Intelligence

23

Aug

Teaching Love Over Hate: A Response to the Charlottesville Incident

by Karen Niemi, President and CEO, CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning)

Dear CASEL friends:

Like so many of you, I’ve been shaken and horrified by the events of this past weekend in Charlottesville, Va. The prospect of overt and violent hatred and bigotry once again entering the American public square of ideas is abhorrent, and again, a very real threat.

I couldn’t help being struck that so many of the participants in the violence were so young, like 20-year-old white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr., who drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, injuring dozens and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. So much tragedy. . . a life cut short, and the living are left with pain, heartache, loss, and, for some, the inspiration for violence yet to come.

How could a society capable of nurturing so much beauty and compassion have also produced Mr. Fields? What forces stoked his fears of diversity and emboldened him with hate? How could his life have been different — not to mention the lives of hundreds of KKK members, alt-right supporters, white nationalists, and violent extremists — if he possessed the skills to understand and manage his emotions, feel empathy, and build positive relationships? We will never know.

I’m more convinced than ever that the work we do here at CASEL is part of the solution to this type of bigotry and fear. We believe in the power of education to teach nonviolence, promote understanding, endow children with purpose and meaning, and provide the skills and behaviors that can create a more inclusive, healthy, and positive future.

Our board chairman, Timothy Shriver, perfectly summed up what we must do to succeed when he said, “I want to change the cycle of stigma and prejudice that destroys lives all over the world every day. Until we can get in front of people and awaken them to the idea that this is not acceptable, it’s very difficult for people to appreciate what we do and change the way we act as a society.”

We are the educators who teach love over hate, the helpers who run toward disaster to comfort the afflicted, and the change agents who will help destroy prejudice and stigmatization.

I ask each of you not to disengage after the tragedy of this past weekend but instead to see it as a call to redouble our efforts because this work is vital, perhaps now more than ever. And we must succeed. Our children are counting on us. Our communities are counting on us. Our country is counting on us.

Together we will build a better tomorrow!

Karen Niemi

President and CEO

CASEL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

Read the Full Post on CASEL’s Website

21

Aug

How to Combat a Negative Climate by Promoting Respect and Understanding

Summary:  This article by CASEL makes a statement about how respect and understanding is needed in this time of negativity in the aftermath of the Charlottesville incidents earlier this month.  The article also provides resources for addressing hate and racism in the classroom as well as resources supporting SEL.

Source:  CASEL, August 2017

Categories:  Core Values, Positive Relationships, Educational Equity, SEL Basics, Empathy

16

Aug

Charlottesville VA

The First Thing Teachers Should Do When School Starts is Talk About Hatred in America. Here’s help.

Summary:  This article from the Washington Post presents some ideas about how to handle the inevitable questions from students about Charlottesville as school begins this year.  There are many resources that are listed in the article that may be helpful in guiding discussions as schools start the 2017-18 year.

Source: Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, August 13, 2017

Categories:  Core Values, Educational Equity, Classroom Practice, Empathy, Positive Relationships, Character Education

1

Aug

Addressing Hate and Intolerance in Trump’s America

Summary:  This article tells the story of how one school district in Washington State addressed the issue of hate and intolerance toward students who are members of “target groups.”  The author offers some suggestions for activities that will help to “look past hate toward hope.”

Source:  Jennifer Fichamba, Education Week, July 27. 2017

Categories:  Educational Equity, School Culture/Climate, Core Values, Empathy, Positive Relationships, Student Engagement

26

Jul

Is Social-Emotional Learning a Hoax? Readers Respond

Summary:  This post includes reactions from many readers who took issue with Chester Finn’s commentary calling social-emotional learning a hoax.  Read the reactions from educators and others across the county chiming in on the place of SEL in child development.

Source:  Education Week, July 18, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, Student Achievement, Positive Relationships, Empathy

26

Jul

Why Are Schools Still Peddling the Self-Esteem Hoax?

Summary:  This commentary found in Education Week, attacks SEL and equates it to the “self0-esteem” movement, ignoring the research that supports the positive aspects of SEL.  This commentary has set off a reaction by researchers who have written to Education Week in defense of the importance of social-emotional development for our students.

Source: Chester Finn, Ed Week Commentary, June 19, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, Student Achievement, Positive Relationships, Empathy

20

Jul

HS Student Group

A Town Helps Transform Its School

Summary:  This article shares how a town in New Hampshire became involved in a school improvement initiative and was able to make a significant difference in the quality of the education offered there.  Some of the hallmarks of the initiative included listening to student voice, focusing on competency-based learning, and helping students develop empathy and resolving conflicts.

Source:  Emelina Minero, Edutopia. July 18, 2017

Categories:  Student Voice, Student Engagement, Classroom Practice, Empathy, School Culture/Climate

1

Jul

6_soft_skills_you_need_to_thrive_at_work_right_now_2

6 Soft Skills You Need to Thrive At Work Right Now – And How To Build Them

By Sara Potler LaHayne
 

For a long time we’ve bucketed the coping mechanisms that get us through life as “soft skills,” “non-cognitive skills,” or “non-IQ competencies.” They’re the skills that we cultivate or prioritize last, after Excel, PowerPoint, or project management systems. But despite crushing it at “hard skills” like writing, math or coding, it’s our ability to ride the waves of disappointment and rejection, pump others up, and stay constantly attuned to feedback in real, meaningful ways that help us rise above. We see it from colleagues who are so stressed and overwhelmed that they can’t compartmentalize projects or move them forward. We see it from friends who are going through a rough time and can’t find it in them to feel happiness for others’ successes. And we see it in ourselves, when we’re tired,losing perspective, and running on creative fumes. Research links the effects of stress on our performance and the value these traditionally classified “soft skills” hold in making or breaking our success. According to the Stress Response Curve, “when stress is perceived as uncontrollable or unmanageable, the person begins to experience a gradual to drastic decrease in performance levels, causing a decline in productivity and enthusiasm to respond to the stress.” Not to mention that without “soft skills” like communication and conflict transformation, teamwork can suffer from poor collaboration and a lack of critical thinking.

We’ve all heard the saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but studies show you actually can. Here’s how:

1. Active listening.

In order to respond to others and give them what they need to be empowered to succeed, they must feel heard and validated. We all are guilty of listening to a colleague ramble while drifting off to our pending to-do list. Active listening enables you to perceive both the words in an exchange and the feelings behind them, allowing for much greater understanding and empathy. We need to lean in with our ears and our bodies to show others we are truly present to what they are saying. Not only will the conversation be more productive, but our relationships will be built on respect. One way you can do this is by having each person on your team share their name and how they are feeling in that moment, along with a movement. Then have everyone repeat that back.This practice takes active listening to a new level, using imitation and synchronous movement to develop awareness and understanding through our bodies. By associating a thought or emotion with a movement, you are fostering kinesthetic empathy, or the idea that bodily experiences provide a type of knowledge that cannot be conveyed through words alone, allowing others to better connect with you and how you are feeling in that moment.

2. Self awareness.

In order to excel, we must be aware of what we need, and either give ourselves that, or seek it out. We have to be honest with where we’re falling short. We can’t listen to ourselves if we don’t give ourselves the space and time to go inward, to sit in silence, and reflect. Before we can express our emotions, we first need to name them. Studies show that a healthy sense of self awareness fosters improved communication skills, reduced stress and anxiety, increased empathy and resilience along with the ability to positively diffuse conflict. One tool you can use to cultivate mindfulness is to pay attention to your breath, noticing where you’re carrying weight or tension in your body and allowing yourself a few seconds at the beginning and end of every meeting to collect yourself.

3. Expressing emotions.

Once we’ve named and been able to identify how we’re feeling, we can move on to expressing those feelings in a healthy way. Research shows that suppressing or avoiding your emotions can make them stronger, causing them to bubble up and explode in an unproductive way. At the beginning or end of a meeting, try allowing each person to practice a healthy expression of emotions by sharing how they’re currently feeling in that moment and how they want to feel by the end of the day.

4. But then managing those emotions.

Now that we can identify and express our emotions, we have to manage them so that they don’t rule our lives. Managing stress and emotions allows us to watch those emotions come and go and not feel overpowered by them. Research shows that when left unregulated, chronic stress can result in physical health issues such as: stroke, asthma, stomach ulcers and heart disease. To practice managing your emotions, and supporting your colleagues to do the same, try naming one challenge you’re currently facing on a scale of 1-5 and one thing you need help with in working through that challenge. By containing this expression to a structured time in a meeting or workday, we’re holding one another accountable to working through and managing those stressors.

5. Discovering differences.

When we acknowledge diverse perspectives and backgrounds, we create an environment for healthy self expression and creativity. We understand that one person’s struggle is another person’s strength, and that our differences make us stronger. Cultivating resilience gives us the confidence to take big risks and support one another toward a common goal. Resilient individuals are proven to be more engaged, have improved communication, and are better team players.To create the space for this discovery, build in a few minutes at the beginning of a meeting for each team member to share what they’re most proud of that day, or one offering they would like to contribute to the group. The structured space for this sharing may illuminate gifts you did not know existed among your team.

6. Empathetic leadership.

Strengthening our soft skills and doing the self work is a lifelong journey that we will never complete, and if we don’t commit to the work ourselves, we can never expect our colleagues to do the same. We must continue to evolve and grow in how we make meaningful, authentic connections with ourselves and others. We must prioritize it and champion it, throughout the day and for all levels of our organization, because we know that soft skills are the coping mechanisms that allow us to navigate what work and life throw our way, and ideally thrive while doing it.

Want to learn more about cultivating “soft skills” and other ways to crush it at your 9-5? Subscribe to the Move This World blog today for weekly tips & stories.

Sara Potler LaHayne, slahayne@movethisworld.com, Founder & CEO of Move This World at www.movethisworld.com.
 

 

27

Jan

Fireman

6 Things Teachers Can Do When Bad News Strikes

Summary:  This article speaks to the importance of dealing with tragedies in a responsive way in school.  What can teachers do when events in the news affect our students and their ability to learn?

Source:  Angie Miller, Education Week, January 19, 2017

Categories:  Relationships and Trust, Emotional Intelligence, Empathy, School Culture/Climate