Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a way of developing empathy, understanding, and resiliency skills in students (and adults) so that relationships that are developed are healthy and collaborative. This is seen a lot at the primary levels, where students are exposed to different aspects of the human condition within the classroom, but it is not as prevalent in the secondary levels, as curriculum, high stakes tests, and content around subject areas supersede the perceived need for developing these traits in students to make them resilient adults in our society. This is a problem which needs to be addressed. Edutopia has an excellent summary of SEL and why it is important with examples from all levels of schools and I highly recommend educators take a look and watch the video by Daniel Goleman (author of Emotional Intelligence).
ASCD, with it’s WholeChild initiative provides a great template from schools and school districts to start to develop SEL, relationships and supporting all our students by looking at five areas. The initiative states that all students must be Healthy, Safe, Engaged, Supported and Challenged. I have written about this previously, when Byrne Creek Secondary School in Burnaby were the recipients of the Whole Child in Action award.
As I am new to the concepts of SEL, I look forward to delving deeper into developing greater social emotional learning for secondary students over the course of the upcoming year. I will be attending a conference on Youth Mental Health in August at UBC, supporting the Red Cross Society’s Beyond the Hurt programme and the High Five Programme at our school. Any suggestions for text resources are always welcome (I love reading new books on topics I am unfamiliar with).
If you interested in discussing this further, join #BCEDCHAT this Sunday (August 11th, 2013) at 7pm PDT as we discuss this topic. You can also see the archives that will be available after the chat.