by Jacqueline Hicks & Carla Swan Gerstein
These days, it seems that much of our educational system has been focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). More recently there has been an acknowledgement of the importance of the Arts, and the acronym became STEAM. However, they are still leaving out an equally essential subject that our students need for success in college, the marketplace, and global citizenship: RELATIONSHIPS. The acronym has been missing its flow, it needs to be STREAM!
Most everyone understands the importance of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and the desirability of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) when we choose whom to befriend, hire, marry, and elect to lead us. We want our children to be able to form effective, satisfying relationships. That requires making good decisions, accepting responsibility for one’s choices, displaying integrity, showing compassion for others and tolerating the differences that exist among us. Yet how we develop those traits and qualities in our students seems to be eluding us for the most part. We are graduating people from high school (and college) who are not prepared to work collaboratively, speak authentically, listen empathically, or embrace diversity in their workplace (these are called “soft skills” in the corporate world). As a consequence, corporate and business employers are finding the need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on organization development consultants to teach their employees, managers and executives how to work together, how to communicate and how to resolve differences. These skills are as essential to one’s success as reading and writing are!
Whose job is it to teach relationship skills? Parents, of course, play a huge part in their children’s social/emotional development. Was Robert Fulghum wrong when he said, “All I Really Need […]