The impact of Social & Emotional Learning in our classrooms
What does Ana Clara know in English, how well does she speak English? This is quite easy to measure. But how to measure social emotional learning (SEL).
But what is Social & Emotional learning? To explain that we will look into the skills such as: self-regulation, self-awareness, accountability, social awareness, relationships and responsible decision making skills. Let’s look into some of them, like self-regulations skills. What are they? It is the ability to monitor and control their own behavior, emotions, or thoughts, altering them in accordance with the demands of the situation. It are skills to calm themselves down when they are e.g. upset so they can quickly focus their attention again on their academic learning. But before that students need to develop their self-awareness kills about what they are feeling and recognizing their feelings. Social awareness is all about empathy for others and about taking different perspectives. Relationship skills is about how to collaborate to have a great classroom environment to learn. Responsible decision making skills is the ability to evaluate options and make effective decisions to support the learning environment. Within EduMais these are the six core skills.
There’s no question that social emotional learning is a key factor in ensuring students are prepared for future success. Academic skills alone are not enough for young people to become successful adults. And for our students who live in conflicted areas and exposed to a violence, social emotional learning is even more important. Extensive research has shown that students who participate in SEL programs demonstrate 11% gains in academics, improved classroom behavior, better stress management, and higher attendance.
Since the start of EduMais we are focusing on infusing SEL into our classroom through Positive Discipline. The improvements we have seen since our start in September 2016 are huge. After one year and a half we see huge improvements in self-regulation, social awareness, accountability and a different mindset in learning. We’re very impressed and pleased by the impact of our approach. As a result our teachers are becoming more effective and we see our students performing better in our English classes; they have more confidence in speaking English, the retain better what they have learned and their pronunciation is getting really good.
Ana Clara is not only better in English but her self-awareness skills and self-regulation skills have improved. A year ago she was not able to manage her emotions when she felt very angry; she was loud, standing up all the time and didn’t want to participate. Now she quickly connects with one of the volunteers and after connection she calms down and quickly continues with her English learning class. Ana Clara is one of the examples, over the whole all students show improved classroom behavior.