Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Impact of Social and Emotional Learning is Clear!

Teachers care for their students. We care that they grow cognitively, socially, physically, and emotionally. It is why we do what we do. In order to help students reach their full potential, it is critical to purposefully support their social and emotional development by teaching and modeling social and emotional strategies. Doing so impacts other areas of development, including academic achievement. Research shows:

  • 83% of students make academic gains when they have learned about social and emotional strategies.
  • 11% is the average gain on standardized tests for students who learn social and emotional strategies.
  • Social and emotional learning improves behaviors and attitudes toward school and prevents substance abuse. 
  • 11% is the average increase in GPA for participation in one program focused on social and emotional strategies.

How can I teach social and emotional learning? 

Begin by modeling successful Emotional Literacy. Students need to be able to label the emotions they are feeling and the emotions others are feeling. Teachers have accomplished this through having students check in as they enter the classroom and select how they are feeling with popsicle sticks and pocket charts, smart board use, and through drawings. This becomes part of their morning meeting and/or classroom routine and is discussed to model successful labeling of emotions in self and others. Teachers have used read alouds and created prompts matched to the text to ask student how characters feel throughout in the story. Using the read alouds they typically use, teachers have asked students to write on white boards, hold up feeling cue cards, and share responses in order to label characters’ emotions. 

How can I foster social and emotional development?

Once you determine how you will engage your students in these learning opportunities, you can determine where your students are growing along a developmental progression and support their development to the next step using the construct progressions developed by the Office of Early Learning. Moving their development to the next step and modeling how to get there is key to their ongoing growth and development. 

Once students can label emotions, they can learn to regulate their emotions. Again, modeling success is important. Students need to see and understand what it looks like to successfully regulate their emotions. You can discover what this looks like and model it for your students using the Emotion Regulation construct progression provided by the Office of Early Learning. 

Both of these construct progressions can be found here for your use: Emotional Literacy  and Emotion Regulation 

The Office of Early Learning is hosting several sessions this year at the 13th Annual Elementary School Conference in October. Join us to learn more about supporting student growth and nurturing the whole child! Register here today!

About the Author:

Dr. Cindy Dewey serves on the Board of Directors for NCAEE as the NCDPI At-Large Director. At NCDPI, Cindy serves as an educational consultant in the Office of Early Learning on the K-3 Formative Assessment Team. Cindy’s teaching experience spans elementary, middle, high school, and university levels. She also served as a literacy coach, building administrator, and central office administrator prior to joining NCDPI. This is Cindy’s fourth year serving NCAEE.