Social and emotional learning (SEL) has a critical role in improving children’s academic performance and lifelong learning.
In order to be able to see how SEL improves students’ academic success, it is important to be aware of what can hinder a student’s academic success.
Top reasons students may be struggle academically:
Learning disability: Children with learning disabilities may have strong cognitive skills but struggle with instruction or struggle in a specific area.
Lack of life skills: This can be in the form of adapting to change, asking for help, focus, control, and time management skills.
Boredom: Students may not be engaged in their classroom and in turn feel bored.
Social Problem: Students that struggle with bullying, social pressures, stress, anxiety, health, home life, etc.
All of these external stressors can be helped through SEL and hope. Empathy, self- awareness, and emotional regulation are just a few of the skills that can be taught in order to buffer adversity. When students have these skills they are better able to manage relationships, they are better communicators, know how to set goals, self-regulate and ask for help. Students more often than not feel more connected and in turn attend school more often. They feel heard and supported in their classrooms and by the adults they interact with everyday.
It is no secret that if students feel more connected to their teachers they will be more engaged and willing to participate. It may seem counterintuitive to spend time on social and emotional skills in order to improve academic success, but it may be the key to higher engagement, graduation rates, and attendance.
Set Goals– This is the BIG picture. Goals academically, sports, family, career, etc. The beginning of the school year is a great time to check in with students and help them develop big-picture goals. Make sure that goals are set to accomplish something in the future rather than avoid something now.
Idea: have students create individual goal sheets for the year and rank goals in order of importance.
Identify Pathways and strategies for attaining these goals– this step helps students break down the long-term goal into steps. It is important to teach students that goals are attained in multiple steps and DO NOT have to be accomplished all at once. This will allow them to celebrate smaller successes on their way to attaining the long-term goal.
Idea: have students break down their goal into at least 3 individual steps. This is the journey to the set long-term goal.
Cultivate Willpower and stay motivated– check in on goals and allow modification of pathways to achieve set goals. There is not just one way to attain a goal. As a teacher, it is important to make sure students do not believe that barriers make those goals unattainable, make them less successful, or make them less talented. Share stories of success and overcoming obstacles. Willpower is a resource that can be depleted. Willpower depletion can be caused by a simple lack of sleep, anxiety, emotional distress, lack of exercise, etc. This is where “My Best Me” comes in and helps the educator keep an open dialog, giving students the tools to manage stressors in a healthy and productive way.
Benefits of Hope
Academic Improvement: The science of hope has proven that children with higher hope scores have better grades, attendance, ad graduation rates. Hopeful children are more engaged academically and perform better.
Emotional Livelihood: Children who have hope are more capable of self-regulating their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Hope allows them to flourish in their overall well-being.
Decreased Drop-Outs: Classrooms with more hopeful students see decreased numbers of chronic absenteeism, fewer incidences of truancy, and lower drop-out rates, even when controlling for socioeconomic status.
Thriving Teachers: Teachers with more hope are better at implementing strategies to reduce burnout and stress, increasing their ability to thrive in and out of the classroom.
Hope Rising SEL’s curriculum is based on Dr. Chan Hellman’s definition of Hope, and it is making a difference in many schools and communities across the country.
If your school isn’t using My Best Me yet, we would love to help you bring Hope to your school. Our sales team is ready to answer your questions and demo My Best Me for you. Contact us to start spreading Hope in your school.
Connecting with students has many great benefits. A positive student-teacher relationship promotes academic success, helps avoid negative behaviors, and promotes self-worth and good mental health. Studies have found that integrating social-emotional learning in the classroom has benefits for both students and adults that work with them.
3 strategies to connect with students
Be Authentic- Create opportunities for students to share things about themselves, their likes, talents, dislikes, etc. The important thing when creating these activities and discussions is that you as the educator participate and allow your students to get to know you as well.
Examples and ideas:
self-portraits: have children draw themselves and write down facts about themselves. Where were they born, how many people are there in their family, what is their favorite subject and why, favorite color, pets, etc. (Free printable)
What makes a great classroom board: together come up with what makes up a great classroom, have everyone decorate the board, and say one thing they feel would make the classroom amazing.
Two truths and one lie: games are always a great way to break the ice, have fun and get to know each other.
Goal Setting:help your students set a goal and break down the steps that need to be taken in order to achieve that goal. This is a great way for you as the teacher to see what is important to your students and help them achieve that goal for themselves. (check in on these goals mid-year and again at the end of the year)(Free printable)
Being authentic also means you continue to learn and this means being able to admit when something didn’t work well even as the educator. Showing that starting over, regrouping and asking for help does not equal failure but rather it shows the ability to adapt and grow.
Make yourself available- This one can be tricky for teachers because you not only need to make yourself available but also need to create boundaries so that you have time to recharge throughout the day. You can do this by setting specific times in which students can come for help or to discuss something. This can be in the morning before school, after school, and/or during lunchtime.
Be a Champion– Celebrate with your class. This can be as simple as attending a soccer game where many of your students are playing and/or attending. This is a great opportunity to cheer them on and build connections outside the classroom and connect with families. Celebrate not only the obvious success but celebrate growth and effort as well. Being a champion for your students means being seen as an adult that authentically cares about your student’s success and about them as individuals.
Social-Emotional Learning is vital for students, teachers, and families. It helps students understand themselves, develop a positive self-image, nurture positive and effective communication skills, and help forge relationships with the people around them. Research has shown the impact of SEL on academics, disciplinary interventions, dropout rates, absenteeism, and more. (A deeper look at the research)
Challenges of implementing Social Emotional Learning:
Lack of time: creating lessons and implementing Social-Emotional learning in the classroom can be time-consuming. Teachers are already being asked to take on a lot throughout the school year. Having to create SEL lessons is just asking them to pile on one more thing.
Integration: Maintaining quality at scale can be challenging when not following a standardized curriculum.
Skills: educators desire more skills and support in implementing social-emotional learning in the classroom.
Why a packaged SEL curriculum is the solution
Lack of time: An SEL curriculum has the lessons and resources in one place and ready to go. A program such as “My Best Me” only takes 45-60 per lesson and can be modified to fit the classroom needs.
Integration: An evidence-based SEL curriculum helps improve student outcomes. Lessons are grounded in research and are developmentally appropriate. Following a well-defined structure helps students and teachers benefit from these lessons and practice. Consistent SEL for all students can be done by adopting an evidence-based program.
Skills: An SEL curriculum typically comes with teacher resources and training. The “My Best Me” curriculum comes with: – A teacher’s guide tool that includes: a material list, glossary, and resource page. – Parent summaries: to help teachers facilitate conversation between students and caregivers. – Hard Copy and digital text – Teacher training – Teacher Portal for ongoing support
Take a look at our FAQs for a thorough understanding of how the “My Best Me” curriculum solves these issues. (FAQS)
How to fund Social Emotional Learning in your School
When a school is looking to implement a Social-Emotional Curriculum, such as the “My Best Me” curriculum, one of their main concerns is funding. The good news is that the “My Best Me” curriculum meets federal funding eligibility standards and other state and local grant requirements.
We encourage you to use the following resources to help fund Social-Emotional Learning in your school.
Title Funds:federal funding opportunities for SEL
Title I, Part A—Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies
Title I, Part D—Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk
Title II, Part A—Supporting Effective Instruction (Teacher Training and Teacher Retention)
FundsNet – Database to search for grants sorted by state
Federal Grants – (Keyword- Social Emotional Learning) federal funding filtered by opportunity status, funding type, eligibility, category and agency.
Funding Exclusive to Oklahoma:
EIGO– allows individuals and businesses to get a state income tax credit to help offset the expense specifically for Hope Rising.EIGO is only in Oklahoma and so these benefits only apply to Oklahoma Schools and Oklahoma Income Tax payers.
Students deserve programs that will teach them social-emotional skills that will span beyond the classroom. Teachers deserve the tools and resources to make this process easy and effective.