Happy First February 2019 Monday Moanin to all of you. Here in Michigan we have survived last weeks Polar Vortex and are looking forward to a more calm week. Over the weekend I was happy to receive my quarterly book from ASCD. It is titled All Learning is Social and Emotional, by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher , and Dominique Smith. Through the few chapters I have read it is a book full of important information about learning and a great resource. I want to share some initial highlights and encourage all of us to begin spending some time focusing on the connection between academic and social skills of our learners. The authors define this early in the book. They write;
” In still other circles, worthwhile learning is understood to include mastery of social and emotional skills in addition to academic ones. Proponents of this view of learning-and obviously, we are among them-believe explicit instruction focused on the social and emotional aspects of learning (SEL) will result in improved academic learning.”
Too often the pressures around student performance and achievement as well as the expectations of teachers to deliver on this may cause a growing gap on the relationships between the learner and the teacher. To help close this gap, social skills can be taught and practiced and are critical to the learning and growth of all learners. Skills such as effective communication, teamwork, and empathy to name a few are essential life skills and require attention and focus.
I want to close with two questions to consider focusing on this week. Frey, Fisher, and Smith ask;
“Do students in your school have strong social relationships(with their teachers, with one another, with themselves, and with the school?”
“What communication skills do your students need to develop to improve their relationships with others?”
Have a great discussion and a productive week and keep finding the good stuff.