Social Emotional Learning

by Fortuna Seva-Casiller

As a teacher, how do we connect with our learners? Do we understand them?

These are things that an educator should ask themselves. Why? Having a good connection leads to a better understanding of the learners’ differences. Part of these individual differences includes physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual aspects of life. Aside from the intellectual that is pivotal to making the transfer of learning clear, it should come along with social and emotional factors. And so, social-emotional matters and should happen in the classroom.

Social-emotional learning is the ability to recognize and manage emotions, solve problems effectively, and set up positive relationships with others. It has a significant role in promoting healthy students’ development and academic achievement (Cristóvão et al, 2017). It is vital for school, work, and even success in life for it develops the self-awareness, self-control, and people skills of the individual.   As we deal with our learners with diverse backgrounds, divergent beliefs, and unique capabilities, we should teach them to recognize their emotions and learn to deal with and manage them.

Human connection and regulating oneself emotions support social-emotional learning.  Some may look at it as influencing an individual to do things, but it is conversely. When teachers aptly adopt this learning, learners will develop their crucial life skills. Essential life skills encompass the ability to understand others, build self-image and make them responsible for their actions. It is a lifelong learning process that, once enhanced, makes students in different genres better understand emotions, relates to emotions entirely, and have empathy for others.

As an educator, developing social-emotional learning can be done diversely. Classroom with the teachers as the proper avenue may transform and promote it through being present and observant, especially during the struggle of their learners, creating a supportive system atmosphere, creating a warm classroom culture, stimulating discussion, allowing your students to practice,

Being present and observant to the learners means having time to listen and hear them.   Show them your availability, which may result in their openness in sharing all their experiences, thoughts, and emotions about different things happening to them inside and outside the classroom, and even in their personal lives, especially at home. Creating a supportive system atmosphere is the time of making the class into solidarity where all the chances are to be heard by one another. Learners will listen with respect and believe that all shared experiences are new learnings in life that should be treasured, for they accept it with truthfulness. Creating a warm classroom culture fosters a sense of belongingness among the learners from different walks of life. It gives them the security of being true to themselves and others because of respect and directs their liberty to trust and be confident with others. Stimulated discussion often starts with the teachers as they share their own story with their learners. A story that makes the learners relate their own firsthand experiences in such a way that will drive them to convey conversation on their own at any given time and situation. Lastly, allow your students to practice. Practice the humanity and empathy that they may think they have already experienced. Yet, they do not do it or may think scenarios where these two words are relevant and encountered in real-life scenarios. Out of that, new learnings will happen that they may use as their weapon to face the challenges in their everyday lives.

Indeed, social-emotional learning is a manifestation of individual transformation. The transformation of being effective in solving problems with self-discipline, developing one’s impulsive emotion to improve emotion management, and building a positive and long-term effect on the learners. It will lead them to share and inspire others to develop their social-emotional learning as well.

As they always say, a person with strong-emotional skills is better in dealing and coping with the different and demanding challenges in life, which helps them academically, professionally, and socially.

About the Author:

Fortuna S. Casiller is a Secondary High School Teacher from SDO Caloocan. She finished her Master’s Degree from the University of Caloocan City and is currently enrolled with the same university for her Doctoral studies.

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