Social-emotional skills are key to students’ current and future academic and life success. They have been identified as college and workplace readiness skills. In this podcast, Steve explores five main areas of skills and strategies you can implement at home. The unknowns of the upcoming school year increases the importance of building social-emotional learning opportunities.
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PODCAST TRANSCRIPTSteve [Intro]: 00:01 Hello and welcome to the Parent Wellbeing and Student Learning During School Closures Edition of the Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud podcast. With the extended closing of schools, we as parents have entered into a new territory regarding what we have known as “school learning.” With this and future podcasts, I’ll look to share my experiences as a teacher, educator, parent, grandparent, and continuous learner.
Steve: 00:34 Supporting your child’s social-emotional learning. Over the last several years, most schools have increased their focus on social emotional learning, frequently known as SEL. This importance emerged as educators increased their understanding of how social-emotional learning was connected to academic learning. Students missing social emotional skills frequently found extra difficulty in addressing the demands of academic learning. At the same time, social emotional skills were found to be critical for success in college and in work life. Social-Emotional skills have been labeled as workplace readiness skills.
Steve: 01:26 Five major areas are frequently listed to define SEL skills. First, self-awareness., The ability to identify your own emotions with reflection. Second self-management. To be able to deal with stress, to be able to deal with the emotions that you’ve identified. Third is relationship skills. The ability to communicate, to have empathy, to cooperate and collaborate. The fourth area is responsible decision making. Thinking twice before taking action. How do I decide what to do? How does my decision impact others? And lastly, social awareness. Social awareness allows one to see a incident, a event from the perspective of others. Empathy is a critical element of social awareness. The COVID pandemic has multiplied the importance of responding to children’s social- emotional needs. Being away from teachers and friends and in many cases, from members of their family, in certain ways being isolated, has had an impact children.
Steve: 02:54 I’ve also seen the extra stress that their parents and caregivers have been under and that toll that that’s taken on the caregivers has had an impact on children. How do we as adults respond? While looking to downplay, avoid or even ignore the impact that this time has had on us as adults may seem like the best thing to do, it really isn’t. The first consideration we should have as parents and caregivers is checking our own social-emotional level because only then can we engage in modeling wellness for our youngsters. So checking on our own is an important starting point.
Steve: 03:50 I found a self-care checklist that identified three basic components in looking at your own social-emotional wellness. The first being awareness. This requires you to slow down and focus inwardly to determine how you are feeling. What your stress level is, what types of thoughts are going through your head and whether or not your behaviors and your actions are consistent with who you want to be. The secondary is balance. Seeking balance in all areas of your life, including work personal and family, life, rest, and leisure. You will be more productive when you’ve had opportunities to rest and relax. Becoming aware of when you are losing balance in your life gives you the opportunity to make an important change. And the third area is connections. Connections involves building connections and supportive relationships with your coworkers, students, friends, family, and community. One of the most powerful stress reducers is social connection.
Steve: 05:16 I know that I’ve personally dealt with that struggle, being separated from my daughter, son-in-law and my grandkids because of country’s quarantines. Extra texts and pictures and Zoom dinners helped to build those connections and I know that they’re important to my personal wellbeing. I’ve included the link to a self care checklist in the lead into this podcast. I encourage you to take a moment and look it up. It’s one page. Kind of click down the list and decide if there aren’t some conscious behaviors that you might want to be implementing to not only increase your own wellbeing, but to provide a great model for your children. Also included there, you’ll find a link to a short video on social, emotional learning for parents. And that video includes some strategies for reinforcing social-emotional skills at home. Here’s some examples. For self awareness, you want to talk about feelings. Describe your feelings, explore your children’s feelings.
Steve: 06:50 Sometimes, especially with younger children, you may need to teach words to help them describe the feelings they’re having. For self management, model and describe what you do to manage your emotions. A statement like, “it’s been a stressful day. I know a walk will help me. Do you want to come along?” Begin asking your youngster what activity they might engage in to help them manage a present feeling. To explore social awareness, you can use stories or news items to discuss the feelings of others and explore where empathy fits in. For building relationship skills, consider that when your child is in a conflict with someone else, you explore the situation with them by asking questions rather than giving advice. What might you do to change things is a question you might pose. For building responsible decision making, again, approach with questions that cause your youngster to reflect rather than responding with suggestions. Encourage your child to reflect on the consequences of a decision rather than on telling them what they should do. For example, what’s the result of continuing to play the game and not submitting your assignment on time? As the new school year begins with many unknowns, building social-emotional skills will be increasingly important for your youngster’s future short term and long term success. Look for opportunities to consciously model, explore and support, social, emotional learning. It empowers our children. Thanks for listening.
Steve [Outro]: 09:05 Thanks again for listening. You can subscribe to Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud on iTunes and Podbean. And please remember to rate and review us on iTunes. I also want to hear what you’re pondering. You can find me on Twitter @stevebarkley or send me your questions and find my videos and blogs at barkleypd.com.