As I’ve started on my journey of sharing my belief that social/emotional learning is the underlying foundation of any academic success, I sometimes am amazed how much this topic actually encompasses. As I continue to study and pull resources from all over the world, the facts become clearer to me. Without a strong social/emotional maturity, today’s students CANNOT be successful in school. With so much upheaval and trauma becoming the “norm”, our educators struggle to keep up with how to teach the type of students we see daily in our classrooms.
I’m not a statistic, and I don’t follow the norm. If you ask me my ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) score, I would tell you ZERO. Most Oklahoma children now have experienced at least 2-4. Incarceration, broken homes, domestic violence, drug/alcohol abuse, and other ACEs are wreaking havoc on the lives (and brains) of thousands, even millions of students.
However, we are not without hope. The education world is in the midst of a lightbulb moment. This month, a new study was realized by the Aspen Institute with Recommendations from the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. They eloquently highlighted my own light bulb moment that began my own journey in this field with this quote:
“The promotion of social, emotional, and academic learning is not a shifting educational fad; it is the substance of education itself.”
-From A Nation at Risk to a Nation of Hope
Let that quotation soak in for a moment. Profound, right? My mission with this blog and my books and my professional developments? To share the hope of rescuing at risk students by promoting practical, classroom tested strategies of social, emotional, and academic development with teachers, parents, grandparents, college professors…anyone who will listen.
We can instill hope in our most at risk students by building their competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.
Read the report in its entirety if you have the time. It is well worth the read for educators and parents.