Research Shows What My Gut Knows

From Our Executive Director, Jacqueline Hicks (June 2017 Newsletter):

Finally, there is recognition among educational researchers and proponents of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), that in order to reach students with regard to SEL, you must teach the teachers first. The following link goes to an extensive research report that verifies what I have long felt is true.

In the field of education, the importance of students acquiring Social and Emotional Competency is now almost universally recognized. The above referenced report shows that across the nation, most state departments of education are attempting to adhere to a set of standards for desired results, even including some attention on teacher preparation for teaching SEL to students. Some states are doing more than others, but none are adequately preparing teachers for the important task of developing social emotional competency in their students. Yet teachers are still required to find a way to develop these competencies in their students. The competencies generally agreed upon are identified by CASEL (Collaborative of Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) as Self-Awareness, Self- Management, Responsible Decision-making, Relationship Skills, and Social-Awareness. I like to also include Leadership Skills.

The report reveals that of the 5-6 competencies, the least addressed dimensions of teachers’ SEL competencies in the state training programs are: self-awareness and self-management. Not surprisingly, those were also given the least attention by teachers in developing their students’ SEL competencies. Self-awareness is defined as the ability to recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.” Self-management is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts and behaviors in different situations—effectively managing stress, controlling one’s impulses, […]