Recently, the Extension Center for Youth Development launched a three-year initiative to explore social emotional learning (SEL) and its role in positive youth development.
Colleagues of mine have blogged about the importance of SEL, the need to build understanding around common language and measures, and why the time is right to try and make a difference in how we think about, assess, and work to improve policy and practice.
This week, I ask you to think about the following important question: HOW do out-of-school time programs help youth acquire these skills?
A New York Times article on Sept. 11, 2013 "Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?" was the second most emailed article for the paper that day. The author states "noncognitive skills -- attributes like self-restraint, persistence and self-awareness -- might actually be better predictors of a person's life trajectory than standard academic measures".
Based on extensive research by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the model pictured here identifies interrelated competency clusters for social emotional learning that help us understand what skills we are talking about:
- Self management - assessing one's feelings, interests, values and strengths
- Self awareness - regulating one's emotions to handle stress and impulses
- Social awareness - taking the perspective of and empathizing with others
- Relationship skills - establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships
- Responsible decision making - ethical, safe, respectful decision making within social norms
This leads to the question of HOW youth learn and receive support for developing these important skills within families, schools and communities. In an article in this month's Kappan magazine, CASEL proposes two educational strategies:
- Systematically teaching, modeling and facilitating the application of social and emotional competencies in ways that allow students to apply them as part of their daily behaviors,
- Establishing safe, caring and highly engaging learning environments involving peer and family initiatives and schoolwide community building activities.
In a few weeks we have a unique opportunity to interact with Roger Weissberg, President and CEO of CASEL at our Oct. 30 symposium: Social and emotional learning: From research to strategies. He will help our symposium attendees grapple with these concepts and frameworks and spark further insights that may help us define strategies for Minnesota.
In what ways are you supporting this skill development in your current youth development efforts? Is it working?
Who do you think is doing this work well that we should learn more about?
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