Pits and Peaks: Supporting SEL in Virtual Learning Spaces.

In these extraordinary times it is vital that social and emotional learning take center stage. To be honest, the social and emotional health of our students should have always taken center stage. My Core Collaborative family’s greatest hope is that we learn critical lessons through this crisis about what takes priority in schools when we return to our new normal.

An SEL approach helps students process and integrate their social and emotional skills in school and quality SEL strategies can transcend face-to-face instruction and be implemented when teaching virtually. According to research, social/emotional learning offers the following benefits:

  • Academic Success: Developing stronger social/emotional skills improves the academic performance of students. In a 2014 meta-analysis, SEL was shown to raise students’ achievement scores by an average of 11 percentile points. The skills that students develop through SEL are shown to improve their attitudes towards school and support building a positive learner identity. Who doesn’t want that for their students?
  • Less Emotional Distress: In these trying times it is important to be aware of our students’ emotional distress. Students engaged regularly in targeted SEL instruction have fewer occurrences of depression, anxiety, stress and social withdrawal as evidenced by measures like the Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale.
  • Improves Executive Functioning: SEL instruction positively impacts executive functioning which improves students’ inhibitory control, planning, and ability to switch attention from one task to the other. Executive functioning supports project management and setting and monitoring goals.

When a student knows that his or her feelings will be heard and respected, it’ll be easier for that student to relax and focus. In this Lunch & Learn, partner consultant Paula Warren shares a technique for building relationships, strengthening community, and teaching students to understand their own feelings.

Watch this brief video to learn how “pits and peaks” can be applied in any learning situation. The Clarity for Virtual Teaching and Learning Framework prioritizes SEL and is a building block to quality virtual teaching and learning.

Sources: http://www.casel.org/social-and-emotional-learning/ and Durlak, J., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions.Child Development, 82(1), 405-432.