Morning meetings are a good place to start, but what you really need is a toolkit of strategies to meet your students’ social and emotional needs all day long.
“Maslow before Bloom”—we hear it all the time. The idea that educators should meet students’ basic needs for safety and belonging before turning to challenging academic tasks is one that guides the work of many schools.
In this era of high-stakes testing and inflexible curricula, that’s not as easy to do as it sounds. The need to do 45 minutes of preplanned reading instruction, followed in lockstep by 45 minutes of math, leads many teachers, especially newer ones, to conclude that they simply don’t have the time to plan for brain breaks, or to check in with students regularly to make sure they’re feeling OK.
Research indicates that’s a mistake, though. Child psychiatrist Pamela Cantor told Edutopia in 2019 that “when we’re able to combine social, emotional, affective, and cognitive development together, we are creating many, many more interconnections in the developing brain that enable children to accelerate learning and development.” Making time to integrate social and emotional learning into academics, in other words, is a better way for schools to achieve their goals than a focus on academics alone.
This year, that will take some extra preparation and thinking. Prioritizing personal connections and students’ ability to manage their emotions was hard enough in physical classrooms, but it will be harder during distance and hybrid learning. Most of the strategies here—a toolkit drawn from high-quality research and from the experience of successful teachers—can be integrated into both physical and virtual classrooms throughout the day.
To read the complete article click here