As schools reopened amid the pandemic, many educators continue to remain uncertain about the future. This unpredictability is especially true for social-emotional learning (SEL), a relatively new development in education. While there is uncertainty all across the globe of how schools will continue to function, it is essential to address the importance of incorporating SEL into these future education models. Not only does SEL provide an opportunity for students to develop crucial life skills, but it has also been proven to provide a plethora of lifelong benefits. This is why, as educators, we must strive to incorporate sustainable SEL models into our classrooms, even during the pandemic.
What Is Social-emotional Learning?
Before we can understand the importance of SEL, we must first understand what exactly SEL means. In essence “SEL is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions”.
In other words, it is a form of learning that emphasizes the importance of good citizenship. It teaches students valuable social skills that are crucial for being a responsible and empathetic human being. It focuses on understanding emotions and decision making, rather than traditional forms of academics like mathematics or science.
According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL can be broken down into five core components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Each of these components is focused on an essential aspect of social and emotional development.
Here at Peekapak, we align with the CASEL model in a very unique way. Rather than focus on each of the five components separately, we have adapted our units so that students can learn to draw from different components simultaneously in a dynamic and digestible manner. This is because our units focus on subjects that tend to overlap between these five components, such as honesty, self-regulation, empathy, and teamwork. Our model is presented in more detail in the table below.
Why Is Social-emotional Learning Important?
SEL has been proven to benefit students in a number of different ways. As the CASEL points out, these benefits range from a wide variety of different areas including both academic and non-academic improvements:
- Academic Achievement
A study in 2011 found that students who were engaged in SEL programs showed an 11% point increase in academic achievement.
2. Improved Behaviour
Various studies have shown that SEL leads to “decreased dropout rates, school and classroom behavior issues, drug use, teen pregnancy, mental health problems, and criminal behavior”.
3. Improved Life Outcomes
Lastly, studies have also shown that SEL can lead to better life outcomes for students: “SEL decreased the likelihood of living in or being on a waiting list for public housing, receiving public assistance, having any involvement with police before adulthood, and ever spending time in a detention facility”.
What Will Social-Emotional Learning Look Like In The Pandemic?
While the pandemic does present new challenges for SEL, these challenges can be overcome with enough determination. Firstly, educators have the ability to move their lessons to a remote learning environment. This will allow students to be able to learn about important concepts such as empathy, respect, and self-regulation while also social distancing from other students.
Secondly, teachers can also try to implement SEL in family households. Here at Peekpak, for example, we embed various SEL activities in our lessons for parents/guardians to try with their children. These activities are specifically designed for fostering social and emotional maturity, while also allowing students to practice the concepts that they learn online.
How Is Peekapak Responding To Covid-19?
Here at Peekapak, we are committed to promoting SEL to the highest degree possible. This is why are happy to announce that we have adapted our program to fit all formats of learning including:
Synchronous online learning through our new series of 50 remote learning presentations to support online lessons per grade level.
Asynchronous online and family learning through our new video lessons and myPeekaville, our learning game.
In-class learning through our 80 classroom lesson plans per grade level.
While we have put extensive and careful effort into making these resources the best that they can be, we understand that the transition to either full or partial remote learning can be difficult for students. That is why we have also worked closely with our educators to design an entirely new product to help ease with this transition: The Back to School with The Peekaflu Series!