Our youth needs mental health support now more than ever. They would also benefit from self-management techniques and interpersonal skills. This way, positive outcomes and academic achievement will surely follow. Thankfully, Social and Emotional Learning is being implemented in both schools and after-school programs. The Village Method strongly supports such initiatives.
The prioritization of Social and Emotional Learning brings a newfound level of self-awareness to our children. By nurturing their emotional skills, we might have a definitive chance of closing the academic achievement gap. Soft skills are also crucial during one’s adult years. Why not plant the problem-solving seeds early on?
In this article, allow us to show you what Social and Emotional Learning stands for and how it can help us end the achievement gap and racial inequity in education. Read on to find out all you need to know!
What Is Social and Emotional Learning?
Social and Emotional Learning is a holistic practice that helps our youth thrive on both individual and collective levels. Among many other things, they will be in charge of their emotions and learn how to solve problems while maintaining a healthy attitude. Furthermore, they will learn how to build and maintain positive relationships with their peers.
For young people, self-control and social awareness can lead to great academic outcomes. The interpersonal skills that they assimilate throughout their K-12 years are invaluable. That is because brain development research has shown that adolescence is marked by a period of elasticity. This cognitive willingness that characterizes adolescence needs to be used for sustained growth. Therefore, Social-Emotional Learning skills are easy to inculcate.
Behavioral issues are directly addressed through impulse control. As far as responsible decision-making is concerned, our children will be properly equipped with soft skills that prepare them for higher education and adulthood. Family engagement could also be the main catalyst for positive change in terms of behavior.
It’s obvious that Social-Emotional Learning tackles some of the core competencies that lead to our children’s well-being within the school environment. However, we still need to do more to empower young people. Culture-blind Social-Emotional Learning is an issue that we need to discuss.
Racial Equity and Social and Emotional Learning
Although Social and Emotional Learning can revolutionize academic achievement and interpersonal relationships, it is sadly taught improperly. There are clear discrepancies between how White and Black children are taught Social and Emotional skills. Unfortunately, educators continue to associate our youth with a myriad of racial stereotypes.
This leads to a sense of segregation and a broadening of the achievement gap. The very things that are supposed to be addressed by Social-Emotional Learning are in fact being perpetuated by a crass lack of cultural awareness.
This can only sadden and worry us, as concerned parents and educators. Thankfully, culturally responsive after-school programs make use of the Social and Emotional Learning framework through various family engagement activities.
Until racial equity is established and our children are treated with respect and empathy, there is no sustainable way that teachers can encourage first-generation college students to pursue academic achievement.
Firstly, the students’ necessities must be validated and acknowledged by school leaders. Positive behavior is all about how we manage our emotions. We believe that teachers should lead the way through the power of personal example.
They need to become fully accustomed to the needs of minority students. They must make a conscious decision to promote cultural responsiveness within the Social-Emotional Learning framework.
To co-create thriving schools that lean on strong Social-Emotional skills, we also need to make use of the Critical Race Theory (CRT). Self-reflection needs to happen on both sides. Therefore, educators have a responsibility to be aware of certain racial biases that can harm the integrity of Social and Emotional Learning.
Let’s Close the Achievement Gap With Social and Emotional Learning
As we’ve seen, the Social and Emotional Learning framework is one of the best methods of developing self-awareness. Our children are constantly battling belittlement, bullying, and racial bias. If the teachers perpetuate these things, Social-Emotional Learning becomes useless. As a consequence, first-generation college students will be less likely to get into the college of their dreams.
That is why we need to be focused on delivering high-quality Social and Emotional Learning to a variety of students. For that, we will need diversity among the teachers and a culturally respectful approach throughout the entire process. That way, first-generation college students will be positively impacted by this change of perspective.
The Village Method is different from all other after-school programs. We have always been early adopters of Social and Emotional Learning. We believe that this particular framework can change our country’s perception of minority students, particularly those that are of African descent.
Together, we can build strong villages of young scholars that thrive both socially and emotionally. However, we will need your help. We kindly ask you to get involved and help our cause in any way you can. Our children deserve to enjoy the limitless benefits of Social and Emotional Learning!