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Online Course

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) for Educators

Friday Institute and North Carolina State College of Education via MOOC-ED

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Overview

If you're involved in education, it's likely that you've been hearing a lot about social and emotional learning (SEL) lately. It's seemingly everywhere these days. And while the goal of educating the "whole child" is not new, we know more about the impact of social and emotional skills on learning than ever before. We now know, for example, that social and emotional skills develop in direct connection to student academic learning1. In practice, this means that you are not forced to "choose" between SEL and academic instruction. Research has shown that students with SEL training "scored 13 points higher academically than their peers 3.5 years later, had 6 percent better high school graduation rates, and could even reap lifelong monetary benefits for their healthy adult lifestyle."2 The big takeaway? We now know that the time that a teacher spends working on SEL skill development is not time taken away from academic instruction; it is time that is spent laying the foundation for academic achievement and lifelong health.

Our team at the Friday Institute, along with a group of experts, researchers, and practitioners, developed this course with the goal of helping you build your own foundational understanding of how social and emotional learning (SEL) skills are essential to, and inseparable from, student learning. In doing so, you will build your own SEL skills, see examples of how others are teaching these skills, learn strategies to apply to your classroom, and share ideas with your colleagues in your school, your community, and around the globe. The course is designed to work in multiple ways: it complements existing district- and school-wide programs but can also be used in the absence of these programs to support educators in weaving SEL both explicitly and implicitly throughout academic instruction and the school day. The course is free for everyone and is intended to support self-directed adult learning. We want you to get out of it what you need.

The course is organized in alignment with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) framework for social emotional learning (see image). CASEL is a widely-recognized leader in the field of social and emotional learning, and we have been grateful for their involvement and support in the development of this course.

 

Syllabus

Unit 1: Introduction to SEL

Participants will begin to develop an understanding of CASEL's five core SEL competencies. They will begin to recognize that these competencies are skills that are learnedrather than traits that are inherited, and they will learn and apply key instructional practices that support their students' SEL development. The essential questions for this unit are:

What is the connection between SEL and learning?

What are the foundations of SEL?

What is the role of equity in teaching SEL?

Unit 2: Self-Awareness

This unit focuses on the impact of self-awareness skills on educators' own lives as well as those of their students, emphasizing skills such as identifying emotions, having an accurate self-perception, recognizing strengths, possessing self-confidence, and demonstrating self-efficacy. Participants will explore self-awareness resources, strategies, and classroom examples and try out one strategy or lesson for themselves. The essential questions for this unit are:

What skills does the self-awareness competency include? What is the relationship between self-awareness and a "growth mindset?"

How can educators use their strengths and challenges in this competency to benefit their interactions with students and/or peers? Why will self-awareness be important throughout students' lives?

How can educators explore self-awareness through an equity lens?

Unit 3: Self-Management

This unit focuses on the impact of self-management skills on educators' own lives as well as those of their students, emphasizing skills such as impulse control, stress management, self-discipline, self-motivation, goal setting, and organizational skills. Participants will explore self-management resources, strategies, and classroom examples and try out one strategy or lesson for themselves. The essential questions for this unit are:

What skills does the self-management competency include? How are they connected to executive function?

How can educators use their strengths and challenges in this competency to benefit their interactions with students and/or peers? Why will self-management be important throughout students' lives?

How can educators explore self-management through an equity lens?

Unit 4: Social Awareness

This unit focuses on the impact of social awareness skills on educators' own lives as well as those of their students, emphasizing skills such as perspective-taking, empathy, appreciating diversity, and respect for others. Participants will explore social awareness resources, strategies, and classroom examples and try out one strategy or lesson for themselves. The essential questions for this unit are:

What skills does the social awareness competency include? How are they connected to the concept of stereotype threat?

How can educators use their strengths and challenges in this competency to benefit their interactions with students and/or peers? Why will social awareness be important throughout students' lives?

How can educators explore social awareness through an equity lens?

Unit 5: Relationship Skills

This unit focuses on the impact of relationship skills on educators' own lives as well as those of their students, emphasizing skills such as communication, relationship building, teamwork and cooperation, and managing conflict. Participants will explore relationship skills resources, strategies, and classroom examples and try out one strategy or lesson for themselves. The essential questions for this unit are:

What skills does the relationship skills competency include? How might they better enable students to deal with peer pressure?

How can educators use their strengths and challenges in this competency to benefit their interactions with students and/or peers? Why will relationship skills be important throughout students' lives?

How can educators explore social awareness through an equity lens?

Unit 6: Responsible Decision-Making

This unit focuses on the impact of responsible decision-making on educators' own lives as well as those of their students, emphasizing skills such as problem identification, situation analysis, problem solving, ethical responsibility, and evaluating and reflecting. Participants will explore responsible decision-making resources, strategies, and classroom examples and try out one strategy or lesson for themselves. The essential questions for this unit are:

What skills does the responsible decision-making competency include? How is the practice of "restorative justice" connected to responsible decision-making?

How can educators use their strengths and challenges in this competency to benefit their interactions with students and/or peers? Why will responsible decision-making be important throughout students' lives?

How can educators explore responsible decision-making through an equity lens?

Unit 7: Putting It All Together

In prior units, participants built a body of knowledge of and strategies for addressing each of the five core SEL competencies. In this unit, we bring these competencies together to help participants think holistically about these skills and consider additional ways to apply them into the classroom and share more broadly. The essential questions for this unit are:

How are the five core SEL competencies connected? What can an understanding of these connections look like?

How can educators share their understanding of SEL more broadly in order to act as teacher leaders and influence the learning climate?

How can educators implement action plans and sustainably integrate SEL into their learning environments?

 

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