Neeru Mittal discusses Social-Emotional Learning and why it will be important in the future.
As we move into the age of AI and machine learning, the ever-changing landscape of technology demands continuous and vigorous upgradation. Prospective employers are however looking beyond mere technical and cognitive skills, they are on the lookout for yet another skill, EQ or Emotional Quotient.
That’s correct, Social-Emotional skills are now considered very important in determining future employment. So let us take a look at how these skills can be fostered using EdTech tools.
What is SEL?
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children:
- Understand and manage emotions
- Maintain positive relationships
- Feel and show empathy
- Set and achieve positive goals
- Make responsible decisions
Developing these core life abilities is critical to a child’s development, as it directly correlates to success and happiness as an adult.
Research has shown that there is a Happiness Skill Set. Combining these skills with academic development using technology creates high-quality learning experiences and environments that empower students to be more effective contributors in their classrooms today and in their workplaces and communities tomorrow.
By using existing EdTech tools like Flipgrid, Sway, Skype in the Classroom and OneNote we can actually implement SEL in the classroom and integrate it seamlessly into the curriculum.
Being Thankful using FlipGrid
Let us take a look at Flipgrid. It is an excellent tool to enhance student voice and can be used in a variety of ways. For example we can use it to address the SEL skill of gratitude.
The idea is to create a grid and share it with the title Gratitude wall.
- Create a FlipGrid and share with your students.
- Name it the Gratitude Wall.
- Ask each student in your class to recall three people who helped them during the day; a classmate or a teacher for example.
- Let them speak up and say thank you to the people on this FlipGrid.
- This can be performed on a daily or a weekly basis.
- Since the grid is shared the messages will reach the helpers.
With all those feelings coming out in the form of words, students develop a habit of being thankful.
Kindness Diary using Sway
The next tool in this array is Sway. It offers an easy to use interface and various design options make it an ideal tool for digital storytelling. You can use Sway to inculcate kindness in students.
- Let each student create a Sway titled: ‘My Kindness Diary’.
- They can use it to chronicle their acts of kindness.
- The stories can be from their everyday life experiences.
- At the end of the month let the students present their Sway.
Writing these experiences will inculcate the habit of being kind to others and sharing will inspire others.
Building positive relationships and empathy using Skype in the Classroom
Skype in the classroom is yet another incredible tool provided by Microsoft for educators to connect classrooms. It provides opportunities for students to interact with peers across the globe from within their geographical location on projects, sharing and appreciating cultures.
A fine example of using Skype to inculcate empathy in students would be to collaborate on various projects addressing global issues.
- Teachers can use Skype to connect classrooms globally. They can create activities to facilitate virtual cultural exchange programs.
- Teachers can also create opportunities to let students participate in global projects.
- Teachers can take up a cause like a project on one of the Sustainable Development Goals to add purpose.
- Organize virtual field trips to places like the Amazon rainforest. This will help students understand the problem of deforestation.
It is an incredible tool which can be used to create long lasting human relationships. Activities like virtual field trips and cultural exchanges also help develop a sense of empathy in students which is a core life skill.
OneNote Class Notebook for Self-Awareness
Tools like OneNote and Immersive Reader cater to the differentiated learning needs of the classroom. This helps to implement a stress free, inclusive classroom with clear learning outcomes for each child.
- Using OneNote a teacher can easily implement differentiated learning, say for a class of 50 students.
- This will help each student set up positive achievable goals and learn at their own pace.
- Teachers can choose specific lessons to teach through Immersive Reader for slow learners and under achievers.
- This will make the classroom a happy and positive place for students with learning disabilities thus helping them to take charge of their own learning.
These tools not only improve student engagement and confidence due to the personalization of content, but also encourage students to engage in the key SEL skill of self-awareness; that is, to examine their own progress and understanding of academic content thus helping them set up positive goals.
How Does SEL benefit the Learners of Today?
According to a research report by Edutopia, Social-Emotional Learning has helped improve teaching and learning outcomes by almost 11th percentile in a case study involving 213 programs.
It not only benefits learners emotionally making them less aggressive and more sensitive, but also improves their academic performance. The diagram below shows how it benefits learners:
We can say that Social-Emotional learning in a classroom helps students become compassionate and they grow up to become just and peaceful citizens.
PS: You can find many more tips and classroom hacks for SEL in the “Hacking Happiness” app. Download from Google Playstore!