Why Do We Care About Social-Emotional Learning?
Let me share with you a generic exchange that may take place between a middle school student and principal.
Principal: Why did you push him?
Student: Because he made me mad!
Principal: Does that meet our expectations at school?
Student: No, it isn’t safe, but he made me mad!
The student knows that the expectations is to keep his/her hands to self and not push, but the emotions of the situation were overwhelming. The student did not have the social-emotional learning toolkit to handle the intense emotions and react in a different way. In addition to content, we also teach students deeper learning skills, such as communication and collaboration as global learners. These skills require explicit instruction. This is where Second Step, our social-emotional learning program comes in.
Second Step is a research-based program that focuses on growth mindset, emotion management, and social connectedness. “The Second Step Middle School Program draws from the latest research to help students handle strong emotions, make and follow through on good decisions, and create strong friendships while avoiding or de-escalating peer conflict”(www.secondstep.org linked here). Social-emotional learning and experiences provide opportunities to strengthen the school community, while decreasing negative incidents that could lead to bullying.
Here is what some teachers have shared about Social-Emotional Learning and the Second Step Program:
Mr. Cantone, World Language Teacher: Social-emotional learning is important for creating a classroom environment conducive to learning. SEL provides students with tools to maintain a happy, relaxed state of mind.
Ms. Lazaro, PE Teacher: Most of what we do involves social learning, because of the numbers of students that we have in the gym at a time and the activities that we do. The groups vary in sizes, but there is always social/emotional learning going on in our environment. Without social and emotional learning the students would not be able to complete our every day routines, teaching, and skills.
Another teacher notes that, “We spend a lot of time explaining emotions and correct responses to situations.We also provide examples of how interactions should look and what kind, respectful responses or actions are.”
If you would like to learn more about the Second Step Program, experience a sample lesson, and hear what students think about social-emotional learning, be sure to join us for the Parent Connection on December 3rd at 6:30.