Teaching ‘fearless SEL content’ can help give students the “Ultimate Life Skills”. Read more to see how social-emotional skills translate to tools that students can use to build relationships, foster social awareness and navigate unjust realities.
Social-emotional learning (SEL) skills can help us build communities that foster courageous conversations across difference so that our students can confront injustice, hate, and inequity. SEL refers to the life skills that support people in experiencing, managing, and expressing emotions, making sound decisions, and fostering interpersonal relationships.
However, educators often teach SEL absent of the larger sociopolitical context, which is fraught with injustice and inequity and affects our students’ lives. As an SEL practitioner-researcher who speaks nationally about the intersection of emotional intelligence, equity, and culturally responsive practices, I hear that educators shy away from such discussions for fear that they will be accused of politicization or that they will lose their jobs.
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This article focuses on how culturally enriching trips and shows can boost grades and decrease absences. The piece also features educator recommendations that make it easier for teachers to implement these trips.
By Paige Tutt
As a teacher, Elena Aguilar often looked for opportunities to get her students out of the classroom and into different neighborhoods or natural environments. “We did the usual museum trips and science center stuff, but I loved the trips which pushed them into unfamiliar territory,” writes Aguilar, an instructional coach and author. Nudging kids out of their comfort zones, she says, “taught them about others as well as themselves. It helped them see the expansiveness of our world and perhaps inspired them to think about what might be available to them out there.”
Aguilar’s thinking made an impact: 15 years after traveling with her third-grade class to Yosemite National Park, a student contacted Aguilar on Facebook to thank her for the life-changing excursion. “You changed our lives with that trip,” the student wrote. “It’s what made me want to be a teacher, to be able to give that same gift to other kids.”
As schools grapple with pandemic-related concerns about balancing in-seat instructional time with non-essentials like trips, new research published in The Journal of Human Resources argues that field trips, and the vital educational experiences that they provide—whether it’s a visit to a local museum or a big commitment like Aguilar’s national park trip—deliver a host of positive social and academic outcomes and are worth the effort.
“The pandemic should not keep schools from providing these essential cultural experiences forever,” asserts Jay P. Greene, one of the study’s co-authors and a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, in an opinion piece for the Daily News. “If schools make culturally-enriching field trips an integral part of the education experience, all students—especially those whose parents have a harder time accessing these experiences on their own—would benefit.”
This article lists short films that can facilitate classroom discussions on race and racism. It also lists a few tips (Teaching Ideas) for further awareness and understanding of the issues. Some of the Teaching Ideas include: open-ended questions; offer choices of the film to students; use short activities; pair with short readings; take action.
By Michael Gonchar
How do we get students to consider perspectives different from their own? How do we get them to challenge their own biases and prejudices? If, as Atticus Finch famously said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it,” how do we get our students to do that?
Teachers traditionally turn to literature, history and current events to open up these conversations, but it’s always helpful to have a bigger toolbox to tackle such important and difficult issues. That’s why we pulled together these 26 short New York Times documentaries that range in time from 1 to 7 minutes and tackle issues of race, bias and identity.
To help teachers make the most of these films, we also provide several teaching ideas, related readings and student activities.
In this article, Donna Ford identifies issues that black students face in schools, and the racial trauma that could affect them. Take a look into how these racial issues can potentially follow students in to higher education.
Read the full article here: https://www.diverseeducation.com/demographics/african-american/article/15106240/social-emotional-learning-for-black-students-is-ineffective-when-it-is-culture-blind
This article details how SEL has been confused with Critical Race Theory (CRT) and how and SEL has come under attack by parents who don’t really understand what SEL is. Do you think we can leave the topic of race out of SEL curriculums?
Read the full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2022/03/28/social-emotional-learning-critical-race-theory/