Hello again from guest blogger, Lisa Robinson.
Last week brought sad news of the death of Marin Sanchez, a 16-year old student in Milford, CT. She died after being stabbed at school by a fellow student, who supposedly attacked her because she would not go to prom with him. Although solutions are not simple, preventing such a tragedy from happening again deserves the attention and mindful action of us all.
The value of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) came to mind right away for me. In the video below from January 2014, Trish Shaffer, Coordinator for Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for the Washoe County School District, gave a TEDx talk on the importance of SEL at a TEDx forum in Reno, Nevada.
Ms. Shaffer made many important points, including that in addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, students need to be taught to manage their emotions and to connect with others. Amongst other things, this can help children develop the ability to be resilient and effectively get back up again when things don’t go their way.
Many young people today are feeling disconnected and angry, and may not understand how to process these challenging feelings or take appropriate action. If from a young age, children are taught social and emotional skills in school, and have the appropriate opportunities to practice these skills, this can mean so much more than just implementing anti-bullying mandates.
And yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Adults may need to develop skills in SEL every bit as much as young children. (Although SEL tends to be associated with educational settings, it is very similar to Emotional Intelligence, which is more commonly referenced in settings outside education).
What can we do? Greater Good Science Center http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/ is an organization that has the goal of fostering a more resilient and compassionate culture. In September 2014, they will be offering a free online course to educate adult learners about what it really takes to lead a happy, meaningful life. This Huffington Post feature provides the details: http://ow.ly/wfe2T .
Please let me know what questions and comments you have about this important topic, or if you are looking for specific kinds of resources to help you make a difference through SEL or emotional intelligence. Please feel free to either respond to this blog post or to contact me directly in email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
I look forward to sharing more ideas and resources with you again in my next post.