New Social-Emotional Learning Templates
The world of high-stakes testing has, as we know, taken the focus away from the softer skills that we know are so important.
If we sit down and really think about it, what we should be aiming for in our schools is to develop well-rounded, smart kids who have the wherewithal to get along with people and maintain meaningful relationships. (32) Lives of Passion, School of Hope. Rick Posner, PhD
The importance of these personal skills is getting more attention of late, and the numbers on school violence, depression, anxiety, and drug abuse indicate our urgency is warranted.
Helping students gain coping skills, resilience, emotional awareness, and empathy takes regular practice and reinforcement. The good news is, we can practice each day by incorporating questions that promote self-awareness into our regular lessons.
In the Pear Deck Slide Library, you can already find many templates that help students check in with themselves or consider another’s point of view. Today, we are releasing a new set of templates focused specifically on Social Emotional Learning. Here are some examples:
In this template, students are asked to check in with themselves and consider their current stress level. This not only alerts the teacher to students who may be unable to focus, but it also helps students learn to assess their anxiety levels. As students become more aware of their emotional state, they can utilize coping strategies to help them navigate stressful times safely.
Thank you to Bethlehem Area School District for the inspiration for this slide. Check out our post next week for the full interview.
To help students identify coping strategies, ask them what activities or things in their environment are giving them energy and satisfaction today. Then ask them what might be draining that energy and satisfaction. By doing this activity regularly, students will start to notice patterns in the kinds of behavior or activities that help them and those that make them feel worse.
An important skill in building relationships and empathy is being able to listen to others. When you are discussing a topic where students have different opinions, perspectives, or approaches, it’s a great opportunity for them to practice understanding someone else’s point of view. The idea is for students to listen with the goal of understanding instead of debating.
Here’s an activity you can try. Pair students up and give them a short text or video to watch. Have Student A (Speaker) explain their point of view to Student B (Listener). Ask the Listener to actively listen to the Speaker, then try to repeat back what they heard. The Speaker then rates how well the Listener understood their point of view by dragging a dot on the scale. Have the Speaker restate their point of view until the Listener is able to accurately repeat back the Speaker’s perspective without embellishing or adding judgment. Then switch roles!
Something to watch out for: It’s really easy for students to add their own opinions when being an active listener. For example, let’s say the Speaker says “I felt really bad for Frankenstein’s monster because his own creator ran from him,” and the Listener repeats back “you felt bad for the mean monster because…” In this case, the Listener has inserted their own opinion of the monster (that he’s mean) and isn’t accurately hearing what Student A said. The goal of Active Listening is to hear without judgment. Just listen.
Students who can take a step back and be aware of their learning processes are better able to apply lessons in other situations. Help students consider not only what they learned but how they learned it. Ask them to reflect on your lesson and ask them, What was easy, challenging, or even too hard?
Moment of Silence
Finally, let’s not forget how important a bit of peace and quiet is to a student’s mental health and stress load. Our students put up with a barrage of stimulation all day long, whether running from class to class, or the constant stream of social media posts, or the music in their headphones. That kind of stimulation overtakes a person’s nervous system and leads to overload. An important coping skill is being able to take space and create a sense of internal calm.
Those are just a few of our new templates to help you promote social-emotional learning with your students.