While traditionally schools have focused on building a culture of academic excellence for students, there are a number of new-age schools that are emphasizing on other skills for students.
Today schools across the world have understood the importance of social and emotional learning in school. Over the years, various studies have proven that social and emotional skills can play an important role in the development of a child. Parents too today understand that by equipping young children with the ability to identify, recognise and react to emotions and social cues, makes a massive difference to not only their present academic life but also to their success in later personal and professional life.
In school, the focus is slowly shifting from developing the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) of students to working on the EQ (Emotional Quotient). This emotional quotient is defined as a person’s individual capacity to correctly identify, evaluate, express and control emotions. Another essential concept that is important to students is SI (Social Intelligence). Social Intelligence can be best defined as the ability to understand people and respond to them in a way that is suitable to the time and the surroundings. In other words, social intelligence can also be described as the unique ability to use emotional intelligence in social situations in an effective manner.
Together, these two concepts have proven to be lead to a happier, more successful and fulfilling life. It is, therefore, become essential for schools and educational institutes to start to include social and emotional learning into their class curriculum. Just as academic skills can be taught, social and emotional skills can be developed and taught all throughout childhood and teenage years.
Thus, emotional and social learning can be defined as learning skills that will help students to
- Resolve conflicts
- Get goals
- Create and maintain positive relationships and friendships
- Learn empathy
- Control emotions and behaviour
What are some of the core emotional and social skills that are essential for children to learn?
- Self Awareness –This is one of the key skills that kids of all age need to learn. Self-awareness includes teaching kids about recognising their thoughts, their thought patterns and understanding how these thoughts can influence their behaviours
- Self-regulation – Self-regulation is another essential skill that teaching kids to control their behaviour, their impulses and channel their energy, thoughts and actions towards their goals
- Social awareness – This includes developing a sense of empathy towards those from a different culture, background, and race. It entails learning how to treat everyone respectfully and with understanding
- Responsible decision making– This skill involves making decisions after taking into consideration the perception of others and being empathetic towards their choices and circumstances
- Relationship skills – Establishing, maintaining and sustaining healthy relationships by communicating, listening and learning to negotiate criticism constructively.
How does a school teach these social and emotional skills to students?
When it comes to teaching these essential skills to students, there are many approaches that schools can take. However, there are three broad approaches that have proved to work best with schools and other educational institutes
In classroom-based workshops or interventions, the students are taught the essential skills through a series of age-appropriate curriculum/ In this step, the teachers are Teachers are generally trained to deliver lessons that teach skills in a way that enhances the enhance students understanding and behaviour in developmentally appropriate ways from preschool through to secondary school.
Whole school interventions essentially call for creating a school environment that is conducive to learning these new skills. It involves all pupils, staff, parents, the community and outside agencies to work together to create an ethos that reinforces emotional and social skills at all levels. Thought the uses of daily activities, programs and special events, At the school ethos and environment level, skills are reinforced in non-curriculum-based ways through policies, whole-staff training, and daily activities designed to promote a positive school climate.
This essentially entails targeting and counselling specific students whose behaviours or actions indicate that they are at an increased risk of developing anxiety or depression or if they show an inability to deal with the daily pressures of school life. This can be conducted in small groups or on a one-on-one session.
What are the benefits of emotional and social learning to students?
1. Academic success and professional success
This is one of the most proven and obvious benefits of developing strong emotional and social skills. This success is not limited to only the academic life, but it is also apparent in the professional life of these students are become well-equipped to deal with all kinds of stress.
2. Confident and lower stress levels
Students with a high EQ and SI have some better cognitive functions which makes them smarter, more confident with a better ability to multitask. Additionally, they have fewer incidences of depression, anxiety, stress and social withdraw as they grow up in a highly stressful world.
3. Few behavioural issues
Students have a higher social an emotional quotient are seen to be less aggressive and disruptive in school with fewer psychological, behavioural, or substance abuse problems as they reach adulthood.
4. Positive social relations
Students who get trained in social and emotional intelligence have better relationships with their peers, teachers and parents. As they grow, it has been observed that their social interactions skills and confidence empower them to maintain positive, productive relationships all through their adult lives.
There are many benefits to helping students importing their social and emotional skills. However, just as academic excellence takes time, similarly building social skills needs patience, understanding and a lot of empathy from the school.