Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is the full range of skills that can be taught to young people in schools and in any other educational setting. A comprehensive SEL or psycho-educational curricula for will teach the skills for SEL and include a guide on how learners can apply the skills in the class and in the school. Teaching children and youth the information and skills needed in these elements are part of a comprehensive prevention education program. Social-emotional learning also provides prevention education for all sorts of social and emotional troubles that can develop later in life. By teaching these skills to school age children, the intent is that these children may not need intervention as adults.
School culture and all relationships within the school setting together create a secure foundation for students to be able to learn their best. In many schools a counselor is available to teach SEL guidance lessons with follow up and enrichment activities for the teacher to use in the classroom.
Teachers didn’t sign up to be counselors yet, daily, their relationships with students and colleagues are social and emotional. That is just human nature. Teaching for social-emotional learning is not like teaching any other subject. You can teach math or language and just close the door, but social-emotional learning is taught as much by classroom lessons as it is by modeling the skills taught. Teachers cannot just teach a social-emotional learning lesson and then yell at the teacher next door, for example. Understandably not all teachers like to deal with this “touchy-feely” stuff. That is not a part of who they are. Yet they can learn right along with the students.
There are many ways to bring social-emotional learning into all classrooms. In her curriculum, “Stop! Think! Choose! Building Emotional Intelligence in Young People” (Zephyr Press, 2000), Katta Mapes shows how to teach the skills for intrapersonal and interpersonal connections. She also shows how to incorporate those skills into most all subject areas. Go to the store for more information about this book.
Katta Mapes is available to consult with and provide professional development training to schools all over the world. This is her expertise and she is dedicated to promoting social and emotional well-being for all.
School counselors will also benefit from using this curriculum to provide guidance lessons that are aligned with the American School Counselor’s Association’s national model. https://www.schoolcounselor.org
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