Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools

SEL Research

13

Jul

Penn State Research Brief

Improving Social Emotional Skills in Childhood Enhances Long-Term Well-Being and Economic Outcomes

Summary: This report from Penn State University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation speaks to the economic benefits of improving social-emotional skills as well as overall well-being for both children and adults.

Source: Jones, D., Crowley, D., and Greenberg, M., Penn State University and RWJ Foundation, June 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, Student Achievement, Mental Health

11

Jul

Getting Social and Emotional Learning Right

Summary:  This article is written in response to a blog by Checker Finn who attacks both the self-esteem movement and also SEL in the bargain.  The author, Marc Tucker, takes an objective look at Finn’s arguments and makes some international comparisons about the importance of social-emotional learning and values education.

Source:  Marc Tucker, Education Week, July 5, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, Character Education, Core Values

2

Jul

Teacher student connection

Nothing Replaces a Caring Adult in the Classroom

Summary:  This article reports on National Network of State Teachers of the Year’s latest research report, “Student Social and Emotional Development and Accountability: Perspective of Teachers.” The importance of this is that it is research done by teachers for teachers.  Main points include the importance of SEL and the need for teachers to better understand SEL in order to foster it in their classrooms.

Source:  Dorina Sackman-Ebuwa, Education Week, June 29, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, SEL Teacher Training, Positive Relationships

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.
 

 

29

Jun

SEL Classroom

Social-Emotional Learning: It Starts With Teachers

Summary:  Fostering a sense of calm and joy in the classroom must start with the teacher.  This special report from Education Week explores the social-emotional competencies needed for classroom teachers, and how they can then convey those skills to their students.

Source:  Education Week Special Report, June 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Teacher Training, SEL Research, Mindfulness

21

Jun

Success Clock

Why Emotionally Intelligent People Are More Successful

Summary:  This article summarizes research connecting emotional intelligence (EQ) with success in business.  There are also some ideas about hiring practices which involve an inventory of EQ skills to identify potential candidates.

Source:  Harvey Deutschendorf, Fast Company, June 22, 2015

Categories:  Emotional Intelligence, SEL Basics, SEL Research, Leadership Qualities

18

Jun

Classroom

Social Emotional Learning: It Starts with Teachers

Summary:  This special report provides access to several articles covering the importance of SEL and how teachers can support social emotional learning in their classrooms.

Source:  Education Week Special Report, June 7, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, Educational Equity, Mindfulness, Teacher Training

7

Jun

Report Card

Is Your Child Showing Grit? School Report Cards Rate Students’ Soft Skills

Summary:  This article sums up efforts to include SEL skills as an element of school report cards.  This article mentions efforts across the country to focus on these “soft skills” as an important part of student development.  Maurice Elias and Angela Duckworth are extensively quoted in this article.

Source:  Evie Blad, Education Week, June 6, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, Emotional Intelligence, Student Achievement, Parent Engagement

23

Apr

Mindful

North Carolina District Commits to Social-Emotional Learning and Assessment

Summary:  Buncombe County Schools in Asheville, NC has identified evidence-based strategies and a reliable test of student skills and  has made social-emotional learning a core priority for long-term district improvement.  Their rationale was that closing the achievement gap in social-emotional skills would also close the academic achievement gap.

Source: Tara Garcia Matthewson, Education Dive, April 21, 2017

Categories: SEL Basics, SEL Research, Classroom Practice, Student Achievement

21

Apr

Harvard Ed Soft Skills

There’s Nothing Soft About These Skills

Summary:  This article talks about the importance of social emotional learning and other “soft skills” in helping students manage their emotions and understand relationships providing examples of how this has helped students in a variety of schools.

Source: Jeff Wagenheim, Harvard Ed. Magazine, January 10, 2016

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, Classroom Practice, Character Education