Schools increase focus on social-emotional learning
- The trend of social emotional learning in the K-12 schools continues to pick up steam, and California will begin testing students for character in fall 2016.
- The cofounder of KIPP Charter School Network, David Levin, says the combination of academics and character is a "double helix" of education, Quartz reports.
- Some caution against the proclivity towards testing, saying character traits like grit and resilience should not be subjected to standardized testing, since there is so much variation inherent in the growth and demonstration of these characteristics.
Moral reasoning and character are being considered and taught in more schools than ever before. Last summer, Education Week reported on a significant bump in educator support for critical soft skills, after surveying school officials and teachers. Since then, a new California initiative starting this year plans to test students on emotional skills in eight districts. A 2011 study found teaching social emotional skills helps students improve academic performance by 11%.
A Duke University study reports teaching at-risk students skills like self-control could help prevent run-ins with the law later in their lives. As Quartz pointed out, measuring and quantifying social-emotional learning (SEL) is still a gray area. Teachers have expressed a need for more training around the topic, and schools still have to figure out how to blend helping students develop skills like self-awareness, decision-making and communication with classroom instruction. Special ed students in particular stand to gain from increased focus on SEL in schools.