Social Emotional Learning
At NDAE, we strive to give our students the understanding and tools they need to be successful in school and in life. SEL (Socio-emotional learning) is an important part of this process. Students need to develop awareness and understanding of their own emotions and reactions, they need to learn to recognize and communicate about the reactions of others, and they need strategies for effectively navigating relationships, particularly when something goes awry. Current research tells us that this learning impacts everything from their ability to persist through school work to building and maintaining friendships to advocating for themselves and for others. In fact, Emotional Intelligence is now considered to be a stronger correlation with success after high school graduation than IQ or other measures such as ambition. We know the value of SEL for our students both today and in the future. For that reason, SEL is woven into daily life at NDAE from explicit lessons in the classroom on interpersonal skills to interactions of the playground to community time and study skills class in the middle school.
We approach SEL from Daniel Gorman’s 5 components of Emotional Intelligence:
- Social Skills
Our work is based on 3 SEL goals:
- Develop self-awareness and self-management skills to achieve school and life success.
- Use social-awareness and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive relationships
- Demonstrate decision-making skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community contexts.
(source: SEL Standards from Illinois Classrooms in Action.)
Ten years ago, we began to incorporate Costa’s 16 Habits of Mind into daily instruction. Over the past 3 years, we have partnered with Dr. Leslie Smith to train our faculty and integrate SEL best practices into daily work with students. This work has included:
- Redesigning our discipline system from an SEL perspective
- Developing students’ self-awareness for emotional regulation and conflict resolution through behavioral reflections
- Explicit instruction on strategies and tools for interpersonal skills
- Integration of SEL instruction into the 5th grade transitional program
- Development of a Community Time program in the Middle School
- Introduction of Calm Kits into every TK-4th grade classroom
- Writing SEL units in grade-level bands by our faculty
- Attending talks and sessions on SEL, including speakers from Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence