After decades of research, the evidence is clear: social emotional learning programs work.
Students who learn social emotional skills perform better in school, sports, and in life. Social emotional learning is now a significant part of educating the whole child. Many school districts around the country are adopting curriculums to teach social emotional learning during the school day, and training teachers on the best practices to develop these abilities.
The key to the success of the program is buy-in from the classroom teacher.
Because we know that the classroom teacher ultimately determines how and when their students will learn and understand the new material, establishing grassroots ownership by the teacher will help more than any top down method of engaging only the administration in the value of the material.
It is imperative to have the focus and attention of the teacher in charge of the learning.
Fostering a deep connection between the teacher and the value and benefits of learning social emotional skills is the best way to create the strongest impact in the classroom. Asking busy teachers who are stressed out to implement a new curriculum Establish an organic and meaningful process in order for it to be successful. Mind Body Align has a proven, integrated process for supporting and training teachers in their own lives using mindfulness, while at the same time teaching them how to share it with their students. Learn more here.
Furthermore, teachers, especially seasoned ones, have seen many new initiatives come and go through the years, making it clear that teachers need a solid understanding of the social emotional skills. When they have a personal practice of their own, they also have an intimate understanding of its value. Teachers will need to engage in the learning process along with the students to help them understand and value the material. They must truly believe in the material, and experience the benefits first-hand in order to pass it on to the students.
The level of comfort and feelings about developing social emotional skills are also key to a successful implementation of a new curriculum.
Allowing time for two way communication with sharing and input from the teacher will help create buy-in and establish relevance, making it more likely that he/she will want to invest the precious classroom minutes on developing these skills personally and with the students.
The greatest impact on learning outcomes rests with the teacher and his/her interest in the program.
Lack of interest by the teacher will certainly diminish the effectiveness of instruction on developing these crucial life skills. Rather than moving quickly into any new program, take time at the onset and give teachers the support they need to implement any new ideas. This is the key to the success of any SEL program.
Julie Braumberger is an elementary school teacher for grades Kindergarten through grade eight, and is licensed by the Ohio Department of Education. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Notre Dame College. Affectionately called “Mrs. B,” Julie taught third grade in Ohio for more than 10 years before she joined Mind Body Align as the Director of Mindful Education with the mission to find ways to teach children and other teachers how to bring themselves to focused attention and improve their learning. She chose a proven teacher certification program to teach mindful social-emotional learning in schools. Julie developed the MBAwareness Educational Program, a social and emotional learning wellness program for schools which has helped over 90% of teachers and students to manage and reduce stress.