With all the attention in the academic world around books like Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance and Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, more and more attention is being paid to what’s called Social Emotional Learning. Many believe incorporating its principles into school curriculums could be the key to student personal and academic success, or as NPR put it it “As important as the ABCs.” At SEL’s core is the enhancement and support of the following areas of social and emotional learning: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making. It’s no surprise then that a student with developed SEL skills has a better chance of thriving in and graduating from college.
Educators now realize that content knowledge, good grades and high test scores don’t always translate to college success, and that there is an often overlooked difference between college eligible and college ready. As Laura Jimenez, the director of an American Institutes for Research center focused on college-and-career readiness and success notes, “We know a ton about what it takes for kids to be college eligible, [like] the level of knowledge you need to do well in a college course. What [that knowledge] can’t tell you is if your class is at eight in the morning, are you going to be able to get up and get to class? Are you going to seek help when you need it? That’s where the social-and-emotional-learning conversation is starting to take off—there are plenty of kids who are eligible but not ready.” A detailed brief prepared by the American Institutes for Research can be found here.
At Green Ivy, our organizational workshops to weekly student sessions enhance and support many aspects of SEL. In terms of self-awareness and self-management, we encourage students to reflect on what’s working in their lives and what’s not, along with helping them developing a list of personal values that represent who they are and where they want to go. This also includes the amount of time they are spending with technology and how that impacts their free time, their academic performance and their relationships with others.
We also encourage students to figure out the best way to purposefully engage within their school and local community in a way that is meaningful for them. It’s continuously exciting to see how our students grow socially, emotionally and academically, and we know developing these core skills now keeps them engaged and enthusiastic in high school, college and beyond.