Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to visit several classrooms of both K-12 students and college students. Many individuals have asked about where the idea for The Stinky Thinky Tale came from. This blog post will try to explain my interest in social/emotional learning and how the book idea was born.
During the last few years, preparing students to be “college/career ready” has been a major push. Combine that with the idea that the education system is teaching students for jobs that do not even exist yet, and you have what we call a situation.
However, surprisingly the word from the businesses that will hire our students is not concern about academic learning at all. In fact, check out this graphic below on the Top 10 job skills in 2020. (Note: I’m not sure who created this graphic, but a shout out to that individual!)
Do any of these skills sound familiar? What we must all come to terms with (as parents, educators, and humans) is simple. The technological world we live in can give us all the knowledge we can handle, but the true skills people need today and in the future are those skills that a computer or robot do not possess! Google cannot give us creativity or emotional intelligence!
Most of the job skills mentioned fall into the five interrelated competencies of social/emotional learning: self-awareness (creativity, emotional intelligence), self-management (people management), social awareness (coordinating with others, service orientation), relationship skills (negotiation), or responsible decision making (complex problem solving, critical thinking, judgment and decision making, cognitive flexibility). 1
As I’ve delved into this world of social/emotional learning, the research is very clear. Students must achieve social competence by age 6, or they may be at risk for the rest of their lives! Students from a very young age must be taught these skills. However, there is a gap between the research and actual teaching materials for parents and teachers to help. The Stinky Thinky Tale and the rest of the Brain Buddy Adventure series is a way to provide a link between research and real life application.