Category

Implementing SEL

3 Indicators That You’re in Need of an SEL Solution

Many school professionals have cited learning gaps, staff shortages, testing, and COVID-related issues as their many stressors that weigh heavily on a daily basis.  This list is not exhaustive, and it doesn’t include the very real pressure and responsibility of taking on student mental health challenges which continue to soar at epic proportions.

Most people admit that they expected the fall 2021 start to the school year to be closer to “normal” than it turned out to be.  If you’re barely getting by and your plate is full, rest assured, you’re not alone.

Many children’s hospitals have declared a state of emergency, seeing skyrocketing rates of self-injurious behaviors and suicide attempts.  Only two years ago, if a child under the age of 13 showed up in an emergency department for a suicide attempt, it was considered a rare event.  Today, children as young as seven years of age are attempting to take their own lives.  These wounded youngsters are walking through your doors and the need for mental health supports are paramount.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures:

State standards determine what SEL looks like in each state. Every state has comprehensive, free-standing standards for SEL with developmental benchmarks in preschool, however, just eight states have standards for SEL development for early elementary students and eight more expand their standards to K-12 grades.” 

This leaves blanks for teachers to fill as they grasp for resources. 

So how can you know when it’s time to implement social-emotional learning?

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Teacher ambivalence around SEL… Normal

When she went to graduate school to get her teaching degree, Tamara never imagined that she would be spending a good part of her career managing classroom-wide trauma.  “I spend an average of six hours per day in direct instruction.  Of those six hours, I probably spend at least two and a half hours having conversations with my students to break through barriers that are preventing them from learning.”

This phenomenon is all too common in classrooms worldwide.  Kids’ lives are complicated.  Anxiety, depression, and trauma are occuring in epic proportions.

The numbers are staggering, so what is a teacher to do?  Should they ignore the palpable distress in the classroom in favor of test scores or address the whole child?  Most educators will admit that getting through the basics of teaching is nearly impossible.  Students walk in the door carrying so much more than a backpack, this simply cannot be ignored.  Continue Reading

Godspeed Little Man

Elementary Remote School

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week our CEO, Robin Glenn shares her own, personal, observations of remote learning during the time of COVID-19. Very few of us are untouched by current events and we all have stories just like hers.

Robin Glenn

Robin Glenn

This is my 20th year writing pieces in recognition of Mental Health Awareness.  Each year I write about the harsh statistics, I raise awareness, and I try in perpetuity to validate the feelings and concerns of all humans.

This year is different.  This year is different in a million macro and micro ways…for all people.

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Global Uncertainty Poses Multiple Challenges for Youth

Remote Learning With Headphones

Originally posted on Thrive Global.

The issues affecting kids are not just COVID-19 and remote learning, but political unrest, social media, financial duress, and other interrelated issues.

They are all coming together in a challenging 2020 that will put short and long-term burdens on kid’s mental health. Educators and teachers managing remote education for the year will need to consider adding tools and processes for addressing mental health, not just academic progress, and scores.

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Tips for Educators Implementing SEL – Remotely or In-Classroom

Teacher with students in background

Whether you’re starting the year in the classroom or remotely, here are some tips for engaging your students as they complete social and emotional curriculum. Knowing exactly what to say can be tough – we’ve been there!

Here are our Do’s/Asks/Do not’s built upon 25+ years of real-world experience working with teens.

Do:

  • Praise their efforts
  • Use specifics from their writing to support them
  • Encourage them to spend time on themselves 
  • Let them know that they are worth it, they are worth their own time. 
  • Let them know they are brave 
  • Tell them you appreciate their stories 
  • Tell them you value their perspective 
  • Tell them you learned new things about them
  • Use empathy 
  • Keep in mind that many of your students have never had conversations like this and this may be uncomfortable for them 
  • Keep in mind cultural differences and respect the boundaries of their beliefs and family practices
  • Understand they are doing the best they can- every student makes decisions because of the things they are going through, many of these things we cannot begin to understand

Ask:

  • Ask them how the module went for them 
  • Ask them what they enjoyed 
  • Ask them what they learned about themselves 
  • Ask them to select the highlights of the course that made the biggest impact 
  • Ask them for their ideas beyond the courses’ completion 
  • Ask them if they learned something new about someone they care for 
  • Ask them if something surprised them
  • Ask them if they need support

Do Not:

  • Use BASE Education as a punishment – it is a tool to learn
  • Criticize their responses- this is hard stuff for many of them
  • Give suggestions for their answers 
  • Judge their answers 
  • Challenge their truth 
  • Make them take a module if they do not want to

Creating an environment of empathy: 6 classroom strategies you can implement today

On July 9, 2017, a group of five Florida teens, aged fourteen to nineteen, watched a man drown. They did not call for help. They did not try and assist him. In fact, the teens recorded the man’s final moments, taunted and mocked him as he struggled to stay afloat, and then posted the video of his death on YouTube. (CNN reported on the story.) And though this story speaks to many issues, one thing is certain. These teens lacked empathy. Continue Reading