This past April, Dr. Anabel Jensen, Six Seconds’ Founder and CEO, inspired a gathering of the world’s top researchers with a story about worms and hearts. Anabel presented the keynote address at the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Special Interest Group (SIG) business meeting held at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.
As it does every year, AERA drew tens of thousands of scholars and practitioners engaged in educational research and practice. In line with the Annual Meeting theme Non Satis Scire: To Know is Not Enough, the focus of the SEL SIG’s business meeting was on application and action: the ways in which the research in EQ/SEL is being integrated into teacher and educator pre-service training programs across the nation and in Canada. Following Anabel’s keynote, several prominent speakers shared their perspectives on SEL integration and higher education. Speakers on the SEL SIG panel included Dr. Nancy Markowitz from the Center for Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child, Dr. Tish Jennings, Garrison Institute, and Dr. Kim Schonert Reichl, U of British Columbia. The panel was chaired by Maria LaRose, an well-known TV and radio personality in Canada, who recently received her MA in Social Emotional Learning at UBC.
Many of our Six Seconds’ team members, traveled to Vancouver to hear Anabel speak and revel in the wealth of cutting edge scholarship in the area of EQ and social emotional learning. It was great to be there with Amy Franklin, EQ Consultant in New Mexico, Carina Feideldey Van-Dyke, Six Seconds’ Senior Research Associate, Barbara Fatum, Director of Assessment and Learning Specialist at Synapse, the Six Seconds’ Lab School in Menlo Park, and Alex Russell, Six Seconds’ Program Manager.
We all shared in the delight of hearing Anabel speak to this august audience, with her keynote: iSearch: Leveraging EQ in Higher Education.In her keynote, Anabel shared anecdotes from her years of experience not only as Founder and CEO of Six Seconds but also as Professor of Education at Notre Dame de Namur University.
So what about those worms and chocolate hearts?
Anabel told a fascinating story about an incident in her classroom when she was in 7th grade:
A new boy in town, excluded by students in her class, sought attention by bringing a can of worms to school and putting these worms down girls’ dresses. The teacher punished him, in front of the class, by making him eat the entire can of worms. Anabel still remembers her feelings of horror, and that she did nothing to help. She reminded us that even though kids are not being forced to eat worms these days, similar incidents of harassment and abuse still occur daily, as reported by her graduate students on a weekly basis. Educators continue to say things, such as “What a stupid mistake” or “No, you cannot grow up and be an astronaut. You are not smart enough.”
Contrast that with an incident when Anabel was Head of a school for the gifted. An eight year old student hacked in to the school’s computer system. Instead of calling for suspension or expulsion, Anabel fought the tide of admonitions. She used her empathy and consequential thinking, two of Six Seconds’ EQ competencies. She asked the boy to meet with her weekly to learn about hackers and the disasters that could occur, about honesty and integrity. To this day, according to the boy’s mother, the young man, now an adult, lives by the mantra of “ integrity above all.” By the way, Anabel’s young man established a top notch business of his own. Guess what? Computer security!I
Anabel’s response to this young man was a turning point in his life and helped him find his way.
Anabel asked the group, “Isn’t this our goal?”
As educators, how do we help all students with their social emotional as well as academic needs?
How do we help them reach turning points in their lives?
How do you want to be remembered by your students–worms or hearts?
The take away message from Anabel’s talk was clear:
- It’s critical to help aspiring educators integrate the competencies of emotional intelligence for their students and more importantly for themselves.
- Helping educators to transform their teaching AND themselves with SEL, during their pre-service years, can have a huge ripple effect—as educators learn to know themselves, navigate their emotions and make effective choices, as educators connect with their passion and their empathy for their students and their families
- The more educators open doors with the true keys to teaching: connection, relationship, trust, the greater the impact on their students.
“You teach what you are….you are what you teach” (Anabel Jensen).
To learn more about implementing EQ and SEL in YOUR classroom or school, graduate education, pre-service, or professional development, please consider joining us this summer for our EQ Educator Certification courses.
July 30-31 in Menlo Park, CA (near Stanford)
August 13-14 in NY, NY