Dr. Susan Stillman, Director of Education for Six Seconds, explores how data is influencing thinking on social emotional learning in education. Here is her latest article in the Arizona School Counselors Association newsletter. Ilaria Boffia, Six Seconds’ Program Manager in Education contributed to the interviews for this piece:
School Counselors Use Data to Tune into the Emotional Drivers of Learning
Social emotional learning is recognized as a critical process for enhancing students’ academics, behavior, health, relationship quality and future success. Not only students but also adults benefit from deepening their awareness, making intentional choices, and finding empathy and connection with others. School counselors are charged through the ASCA National Model with being leaders, collaborators, advocates and systemic change agents. Social emotional learning can provide a unifying vision, structure, processes, and assessment tools to assist school counselors in becoming effective change agents.
In this case study, teachers were helped to review their own social emotional competencies and to compare these to those of their students. When school counselors use data to demonstrate the value of social emotional learning, tremendous opportunities exist for them to be influential leaders in their schools and communities and propel students towards lifelong learning and success.
Imagine Gita, a typical 9-year-old girl. She wants to do well, but she is facing serious adversity in her life — she feels scared, isolated, and angry; has she learned how to handle these difficult feelings so she can thrive – and do well in school?
Imagine Gita has a typical teacher, focused on preparing her students for the upcoming exam; does she have the tools and skills to help Gita?
Imagine this is in a typical school: have the children learned to talk to one another, to share, to support one another to be and do their best learning?
All t0o often, the answers to all these questions are “No.”
Researchers have demonstrated that it’s invaluable, and, indeed, possible, to change this trend by integrating Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into our schools.
How would all educators fare with greater self-awareness and the ability to make more intentional choices? How would this increased awareness facilitate powerful learning for students like Gita?