June 4th, 2020

Co-Discovering Interconnectedness in Every Discipline, incl. SEL

The www has changed EVERYTHING by expanding all possibilities to the furthest reaches of intelligence and insights.

Education, fully integrated with SEL enrichment, must also expand if it's to provide authentic short-term, long-term, and independently transferable relevance. Expansion, by definition, must be both horizontal and vertical if it is to keep pace with the current explosion of awareness and wisdom in today's world of interconnectedness. Engaging kids' innate ability (and enthusiasm) to explore every discipline, including SEL, through the lens of SYSTEMS THINKING, will invigorate education for all participants: students, faculty, schools, families and communities.

How? With Questions that respect groups of kids' individual and collaborative expressions of intelligence by 'guiding' them, in peer group discussions, to 'look' in specific directions (that we know have value), but not telling them what to see. These kinds of educational opportunities, when properly designed and implemented, result in dynamic interactions which invariably cause "lights" of comprehension to switch on... spontaneously resulting in genuine ‘ownership’ of what truly matters and what is holistically beneficial.

Kids want to be 'seen,' they want to be age-appropriately challenged, and - most importantly - they want the best of themselves to be evoked... not mandated, EVOKED. (Which is something I know pretty much all of us can all relate to.) This approach is neither difficult nor complex - but it does take an intentional leap away from strictly 'teaching' into the mutually respectful realm of 'facilitation.'

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, community building, connection, curriculum, definition, equity, family, freire, Integrating SEL into academics, relationships, restorative practices, SEL & Equity, SEL Leadership, SEL Resources, student-centered, Trauma-informed practices

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Comments (4)

Comments (4)

Hi Nini!

You hit the hammer on the nail considering "the lens of SYSTEMS THINKING"

Education typically view issues from a myopic perspective. Research suggests the investigation of cross-system engagement as student needs are diverse, many, and beyond what school can accomplish independently.

I am a committed advocate for Whole-School District Transformation. When speaking with educators, I ofter pitch the ideas suggesting the opportunity for school leaders that have ever uttered the phrase "If we could only just..."

If not now, when...?

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Thanks, Bruce. You are probably also familiar with interdisciplinary curriculum, yes? Revealing interconnectivity to students, or better yet, enabling them to make their own discoveries of interconnectivity (and this is 100% relevant to SEL) is the most effective way to create ownership... and isn't that what our job is all about? I'm quite curious to see what truly creative solutions manifest from today's meeting, and I'm so much hoping the 'myopic perspective' you refer to will be obliterated. Classrooms that function within atmospheres of mutual respect and trust are the only way forward that will result in benefits for everyone. SEL does not succeed in a 'Top-Down' model. SEL is something we all need to be developing, TOGETHER.

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Nina, I sincerely appreciate your post. A lot of what is often missing from SEL advocates is the evoking of interest from students.
How do you get kids genuinely interested in something? The golden egg of education so to speak.
Emotion is inextricably linked to interest, and allowing them to feel genuine ownership of their learning, allows for this interest. I am wondering about a good example of this. Thanks for posting.

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Hello Morgan ~ Thanks for your thoughtful response. In my experience, getting kids interested was always on me, as their teacher, to make things RELEVANT. When I was in school, i was one of those kids who was constantly wondering, what does __________ have to do with me? with my life? A brilliant book on the validity of this concept about making knowledge RELEVANT is "The Art of Changing the Brain," by James Zull. :-) See you tomorrow on ZOOM conference?

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