Addendum #7: Thinking about Social Emotional Support and Social Emotional Growth–for Now and Later

Part of Frey, Fisher, and Smith’s book title presents a provocative and helpful claim to think about: “All learning is social and emotional…” Indeed!

In many ways, students need to self-regulate and to work with others even in the most traditional of classrooms.

Correspondingly, Frey, Fisher, and Smith share some key skills identified by the “Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning”:

  • Self-awareness—the capacity to reflect on one’s own feelings, values, and behaviors.
  • Social awareness—the ability to view situations from another perspective, respect the social and cultural norms of others, and celebrate diversity.
  • Relationship skills—the ability to initiate and sustain positive connections with peers, teachers, families, and other groups.
  • Self-management—the set of skills that includes self-motivation, goal setting, personal organization, self-discipline, impulse control, and use of strategies for coping with stress.
  • Responsible decision making—the ability to make choices that consider the well-being of oneself and others. (3-4)

The important question that most of the social emotional discussions have surfaced is, “How do we appropriately support and coach struggling students with the social emotional dimensions of learning and growing?” This is a more complex question than it might initially seem. Among other considerations, some students may need more nurturing while other students need more challenge. Those “needs” further break into many potential distinctions and qualifications.

As always, there is no easy silver-bullet answer to the question of how to best provide social emotional support for all students, especially now. However, I think it helps to have something like the following image in mind as we consider the successes, challenges, strategies, and opportunities that we have during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

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