As co-founder of the Atlanta Music Project, I believe unequivocally in the importance of social and emotional learning on academic learning. As such, I have been a big fan of the research being conducted at the Collaborative for Academic, Social & Emotional Learning ("CASEL"). Teacher unions and many teachers have historically blamed poverty as the excuse for why they are unable to successfully teach impoverished youth. While poverty does make the learning process quite challenging, we know from successful programs such as KIPP and El Sistema that these children can learn under the right conditions.
In September, CASEL introduced a new study titled, The Missing Piece: A National Teacher Survey on How Social and Emotional Learning Can Empower Children and Transform Schools Per CASEL:
The central message of this report is that teachers across America understand that social and emotional learning (SEL) is critical to student success in school, work, and life. Social and emotional learning involves the processes of developing competencies, including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Educators know these skills are teachable; want schools to give far more priority to integrating such development into the curriculum, instruction, and school culture; and believe state student learning standards should reflect this priority. Teachers also want such development to be available for all students. These and other findings are the result of a nationally representative survey of pre kindergarten through twelfth grade teachers to assess the role and value of social and emotional learning in America’s schools. The voices of teachers on SEL are more important than ever, when expectations for classroom effectiveness are higher, the U.S. educational advantage worldwide is slipping, and a skills gap is threatening American economic growth.
This report concludes that there is overwhelming evidence linking SEL, student outcomes, and school performance. Is Social & Emotional Learning the secret ingredient to reinventing education in America and around the world? Feel free to share your thoughts on this blog or on Twitter - @Reinvent_Ed.