Foster social emotional development
This is a guest post by Robbie Torney, a kindergarten teacher at Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland, CA. He is a graduate of the Stanford Teacher Education Program and also a recipient of the America Achieves fellowship for outstanding teachers.
Mr. Torney and Paulina B. listen to Monse M. read
Social and emotional learning (SEL) helps children develop important cognitive, affective, and behavioral competencies that help them become successful students and people. The link between these competencies and success is intuitive (and supported by research). For example, students who develop strong relationship skills will experience academic and social success at school, at home, and eventually in life.
Advocates for SEL reject the false tradeoff between rigorous academics and SEL; we believe that social and emotional competence go hand in hand with academic success. We also reject the idea that students’ social and emotional competencies are fixed traits, and believe that given explicit teaching, support, effort, and dedicated practice, everyone can grow and develop their abilities and skills.
One easy way to build SEL into your week is to do cross age tutoring, which:
- requires relatively little time. This year my kindergarten class is buddied with a third grade class; we spend 45 minutes each week reading, cooking, writing, playing, or doing math.
- gives students 1:1 attention. Each buddy has one other person that they are paying special attention to within the context of broader classroom interactions.
- is easy to plan for. As a teacher, you can step into a coaching role, supporting students with interactions and needs that will naturally grow out of any activity, task, or project your students are working on.
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Israel G. and Gerrod W. read together
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