Project RAISEAware Students is borne out of the need to give our children the space and support to develop socially and emotionally, by teaching them how to connect, express themselves, and build community with others, we can equip the next generation to confront our country’s often painful history, and imagine a more just and balanced future. By modeling cooperation, empathy, and mutual respect in the classroom, we can prepare our children to be leaders and change-makers in their communities. Through education, we can advance our shared mission of transforming our culture of domination and exploitation into one of collaboration and partnership.
Children are like sponges. They observe and absorb their surroundings, taking in the good as well as the bad. It’s no surprise then that trauma at home and in our communities often seeps out into classrooms and schoolyards. Bullying and violence in our schools is nothing new. We cannot ignore what’s happening outside the classroom. Schools need to become places that create the conditions for true and active learning, for meaningful support and nurturance, for healthy questioning, dialogue, inquiry, active engagement, real imagination, and agency.
The Nigerian Schoolwide NELPRO tour has the potential to create profound change within your school. This focus area will help your school build the foundational support needed to launch and sustain high-quality SEL implementation. SEL interventions that address NELPRO’s five core competencies increased students’ academic performance leads to academic outcomes and improved behaviors. Students participating in SEL programs also show improved classroom behavior, an increased ability to manage stress and depression, and better attitudes about themselves, others, and school.
HERE’S WHY SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING BELONGS IN OUR SCHOOLS
The challenge of raising knowledgeable, responsible, and caring children is recognized by nearly everyone. Few realize, however, that each element of this challenge can be enhanced by thoughtful, sustained, and systematic attention to children’s social and emotional learning (SEL). Indeed, experience and research show that promoting social and emotional development in children is “the missing piece” in efforts to reach the array of goals associated with improving schooling in Africa.
Teachers may have a hard time helping children achieve academic success when young students do not know how to interact appropriately with others. Bullying, harassment, emotional outbursts, and fighting can make it hard for any child to focus on the academic skills taught in the classroom. Such issues can also take time away from the earnest educator and administration, forcing them to spend more time on disciplining students. It is in these instances where social-emotional learning can make a difference.
WHAT IS SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING?
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines social-emotional learning as:
“ … the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
With this in mind, schools look to educate a child holistically. The emotional health and development of a child become a priority as a multi-faceted approach integrates within the curriculum and culture of a school. This type of learning provides additional tools for both the success for students and school districts. Multiple benefits are often seen with SEL. Schools appreciate that it promotes a favorable school climate. Student outcomes reveal increased academic success. The positive impact continues long past childhood: social-emotional learning assists with problem-solving, communication and management of emotions, critical factors for employees in the workforce.
As many schools contend with integrating students from different social-economic backgrounds and cultures, the ability for young children to manage emotions, be empathetic and understanding toward others, and show the ability to make well thought out decisions, can be achieved with SEL in the curriculum. The five core competencies of SEL are:
- Responsible decision-making
- Social awareness
- Relationship skills
These competencies, found in the Framework for Systemic Social and Emotional Learning, impact not only the student and classroom environment but have a broader influence on schools, homes, and communities. SEL is a coordinating framework that affects staffing, strategic plans, curriculum choices, school policies and practices. It fosters a climate that is inviting, participatory and caring for learners. SEL is instrumental for teachers wanting to support the diverse needs of children and their development into well-rounded, civic-minded adults.
With SEL, the teacher helps children develop the type of intelligence, social skills and practical goal-setting abilities that will serve them for their lifetime. Such skills are transferable and will take them from the schoolroom to the boardroom, allowing them to accommodate different perspectives and work toward better solutions for challenges encountered throughout their life.
WHY SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING BELONGS IN THE CLASSROOM
- SEL has been found to result in numerous long-term benefits. Not only are behaviors and attitudes affected by the implementation of SEL, but positive results are seen in skills and academics. NELPRO students will perform better in areas including Academics, Teamwork, Empathy, Positive social behaviors, Attitudes
BENEFITS OF SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING: STUDENTS AND SCHOOLS
When school budgets and resources are stretched thin to accommodate for the various social-economic needs of students and potential behavioral issues, SEL can reduce the long-term burden on school districts. This approach fosters emotional health in students despite diverse backgrounds while helping them perform better academically. SEL may be a useful tool for underperforming schools that are looking for better ways to address behavioral issues in students and create more cooperation amongst students and between students and staff. Not only may fewer disciplinary issues occur with long-term implementation, but students may become more motivated in the classroom, helping them achieve necessary academic skills and knowledge.
THE IMPACT ON STUDENT LIVES AND COMMUNITIES
SEL can instill crucial workplace skills in employees. Workplace skills that would be positively influenced by this type of learning include:
- Emotion recognition
- Emotion management
- Impulse control
- Problem Solving
The ability to recognize emotions allows one to tailor messages to a mood of an audience. Strong emotions can be kept in check and not impact the ability to make important decisions at work. The ability to actively listen and engage with a wide variety of people makes for improved understanding and stronger relationships. These are only a few of the ways that SEL can have a significant impact on employees and employers.
SEL cannot only make for a more cooperative and accepting classroom environment but provide essential soft skills and decision-making abilities to disadvantaged students that would allow them to become better employees, managers and business owners. The students of today can become pillars of their communities. Rather than fall through the cracks, children from any background and social-economic level can use the soft skills taught in SEL to lift themselves out of poverty or less than ideal situations, becoming an inspiration for others while contributing to the health of their community.
Students require more than merely academic knowledge to thrive. They need transferable soft skills that will allow them to understand others and work collaboratively to achieve desired outcomes. Providing tools for developing children to manage their emotions and problem solve can allow them to better contribute to their schools, workplaces, and communities. SEL is an approach that presents a unique opportunity for educators, administrators, and school districts to make a positive impact on affected communities for years to come.
The Impact of NELPRO Is Long-Term and Global – SEL programming can have a positive impact up to 18 years later on academics, conduct problems, emotional distress, and drug use in addition to Multiple Benefits for Students, Return on Investment, Can Help Reduce Poverty, Improve Economic Mobility, Improves Lifetime Outcomes.
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Support Project RAISEAware by; Nominating a school of interest, Sponsoring a training tour to a school in your local community, Signing up as a trainer, counselor or support staff.
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