May 18th, 2020

Coordinator, SEL: Contra Costa County Office of Education

Wow...so many thoughts running through my head right now. I think the new reality we find ourselves in with COVID-19 both presents many challenges and barriers as well as presents us with new opportunites. I feel there has been movement in the past few years where people are realizing the importance of SEL, and...it still is not necessarily a top priority among so many priorities. Those of us in the field have been trying to promote the message of "it's not one more thing on your plate, it is the plate" with various degress of success. The current Shelter-in-Place and the social-emotinal struggles it is brought to bear on both adults and students has even more so raised the awarness of how critical social emotional competency is to success. The opportunity is now, maybe more than ever, as there is a desire to weave SEL through everything we do from folks who perhaps had other priorites in the past.
Some things that I have found to work well are online platforms (Zoom, etc.) to present how SEL is critical to academic success and supporting our educators and students. I have been using the work of Marc Brackett to make the connection between emotion and engagement and weaving my own personal experiences of both times when I have been engaged and times I have been disengaged to connect with my audience.

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Comments (3)

Comments (3)

I appreciate your comments, Dave, particularly your point about the need to "weave SEL through everything we do" and not treat SEL and academic learning as competing priorities. Marc Brackett's work through the RULER program at Yale's Center for Emotional Intelligence offers some good foundational tools for recognizing, understanding, and managing emotions.

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Hi Dave:
Thanks for joining the conversation. How do you think we can capitalize on the opportunity this crisis offers for SEL so we don't go back to the bad old ways once the world returns to normal?

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Hi Cindy,
Great question....One thing I think is that there is opportunity for adults to engage in more self-reflection and work on the recognizing and managing emotions pieces of SEL. One of the big mistakes I see many schools make is to push SEL onto students without really engaging in the work for themselves first-- I see the reasons and applaud that they want to make it a priority for students, but in their rush the initiatives fall flat or are not as effective as they could be. I think once teachers, administrators and other school staff can learn about SEL and see how emotions effect their own behavior and learning, there is opportunity to be more empathic with the situations of students--not to mention being able to respond to students in healthier ways. I think with everyone's new reality, there is a concrete example we can point to as we engage in this work.

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