An article from EdSource this week highlights the work of The Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development. The 25-member commission of prominent figures in education, business and government is advancing an agenda to integrate social and emotional learning (SEL) into classroom curriculum.
For teachers who might be wondering exactly what this looks like, the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) published an article this week describing how trainers at the GGSC summer education institute wove SEL skills into existing subject-specific lessons at the elementary, middle school and high school level. The GGSC team acknowledged that teachers and administrators already feel that there is not enough time to deliver subject-area material. The purpose of the exercise is to show how SEL can enhance subject-area lessons without cutting into already packed schedules.
To me, the big takeaway here is that integrating SEL into lessons does not need to be a large, time-consuming “overhaul” of the curriculum. Rather, it’s a steady reorientation of what educators prioritize when we interact with youth. An SEL approach means paying close attention to how we interact with youth, how youth interact with each other, and how their learning contributes to a healthier, more harmonious global society.