In our buildings we had a lot of conversations recognizing the diverse feelings of our students as they were heading into the holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving. While many of us may have really enjoyed their break with friends and family, some of our students may have had a difficult week away from the safety and routines of school. Helping our students to cope when they are struggling takes empathy on our party, but what exactly is empathy? Check out Jennifer Hogan's blog on empathy. As you and your students transition back to school this week after the break, look for opportunities where you can truly be mindful, listen with your heart, and empathize with your students (or colleagues!). What skills did you end up employing to help you in those moments?
There are 5 core competencies according to CASEL, they are:
Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.
Self-management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.
Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.
Responsible decision making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the wellbeing of self and others.
For this week, we will focus on self awareness. Read the attached article, focus in on the section entitled, “When to Teach Self Awareness” and reflect on the following question: “Why is it important for us as educators to have a strong understanding of our own self awareness before we can teach this skill to our students?
Marc Brackett, the Director for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, says “We attribute feelings to children. Often times we don’t ask a child how they are feeling.” At the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, the organization studies the role that emotions plays in everyday life and in schools. In particular, they study the relationship between emotions and creativity, and help people to better identify their own emotions. Learning to identify and label emotions is an essential step to increase emotional intelligence. Marc recommends that it is first important for educators to work on their emotional intelligence, then to start to help their students develop theirs.
This week reflect upon:
When was the last time you asked a student how they were feeling? What was the impact and result of asking them?
The concept of flexible learning environments is nothing new to education. We have seen that in schools for years and elementary classrooms are great at creating these spaces. We have also spoken in recent years about increasing student agency. If we are giving students the opportunity for choice in what and how they learn, why can’t we also give them choice in the environment they learn in? Watch this video on flexible learning environments and ask yourself the following questions: How do you learn best? Where at home do you do your work? Can you read and learn material sitting at the kitchen table, on the couch, on the beach? Or does all learning need to occur in desks and in rows?