What skills will remain valid for the next generation?
What skills will remain valid for the next generation?At the rate of knowledge expansion and technological advances, if we went to sleep for 5 years and suddenly woke up, our day would be a challenge. Technologies, sciences, trends are mutating so rapidly that what we know how to do will be obsolete progressively at a more accelerated rate. However, the mind- body set up, our character and our social- emotional skills will continue to serve us well. Skills that will sustain students have more to do with character than facts. That’s why Social Emotional Learning must become a part of curriculum.
Social Emotional Learning is the foundation for all other learning. Teaching students to regulate emotions and work together makes it possible to learn well. From the beginning, the American educational system was seen as the great equalizer so that diverse immigrant populations could learn a common language, break down culture barriers and create literate American citizens. Now the best practices in education have evolved to include the neuro-science of learning and the benefits that result from creating a positive social climate. Educational Leaders have recommended that we move from a presentation of facts and subsequent skill practice to the recognition that subjects must be meaningful, relevant to the community, and that personal engagement is required to learn.
We can no longer afford to be a competitive society where some win at the expense of others. In order to have respect for diversity, and combine their talents, students must understand themselves, empathize with others, and collaborate. S.E.L is the science of creating a transformational environment for our students.
What the world community needs most is: creative solutions to complex problems, ethical personal and social behavior and sustainable systems to save our planet.
C. Lee Guerette
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The problem with always knowing better
When my son was 6, he taught me a lesson in equanimity. My mother, his beloved meme, loved green beans and she would snap off the ends one by one to make a pot. One day, I showed my boy how I did it. I take a whole bunch, a dozen or so, line them up on the cutting board so the ends are in the same place and with one swoop of the knife – cut all ends off. I called my son over – with evident superiority and said “ See, look how mommy does this. He looked and said “So what! Just because you do it that way doesn’t mean you’re better.
Ooops, my mother was just as happy, not being in a rush. Why do we think that “my” system is better because it characterized by “my” preferences? Daffs on Pink 3D painting by Ken Gidge
Emotional Intelligence is the art of communicating your truth in a effective and tactful way. It is also receiving another’s truth without becoming resentful of their awkwardness or style. In a way it listening for the meaning and intention of others not just the words.
This particular exercise was suggested by Dr. Susan Stillman of Six Seconds. Its usefulness is apparent and the lesson is fairly easy to execute although it requires at least 30 minutes doing a complete round.
The objective of the lesson is to have students observe the dynamics of communication. It contains elements of body language, emotional charge, word choice, tone, pace, inflection, the speaker’s perception and so on. It is a much evolved skill to listen cleanly and objectively.
Tell the class that they are going to doing a “Listening Mirrors “exercise – trying to be a Mirrors or video recording to the students speaking. They are to listen without interrupting the description from student designated as speakers and they need to observe and copy every detail of tone of voice, posture, and pace of words, word choice and emotional intensity. Then divide the class into teams of three students each by counting off: one, two, and three… and so on. In the first round, the students counted as ONE’s speak, TWOs listen, and the THREEs observe for accuracy. Then switch until each has had a turn at the different roles.
Ask the class to think about an event that made them very sad, angry or frustrated. Let the group process and visualize that moment in time for a minute or two. Then give time about 2 minutes for the Speakers to tell their story, 2 minutes for the Listeners to repeat the story, and lastly have the observers give feedback to on the accuracy of the repetition.
Because this lesson can get rather noisy you may want to send kids into corners, or the hallways to do it. Have the observers keep track of the time. Each complete set might be about 12 minutes- moving rather quickly. When the class has regrouped, have one member from each team – share out what they learned, heard or observed… Try to draw some conclusions or principles such as,
“It is important to _____” not change the words”
The tone of voice makes a difference.
An extension of this practice might be that – when a student is not explaining the story well and/or the repetition is not accurate – the observer asks a question to the speaker and or coaches the partners… to clarify the intent, meaning and intensity.
How “mindfulness” improves orientation
The pause practice, the stop exercise or a moment of REST at the beginning of a task provides a way to settle the nervous system, sets up orientation to time, place and offers mental clarity before the anticipated activity. When a student has a chance to clean the mental white board, it is an opportunity to dissolve residual tensions or attachments from the prior activity and simultaneously grounds the student in the here and now. During the STOP the body is used as an anchor for awareness and then students expands that awareness to include the play of air on the face, their weight in the chair, listening out into the room, including the group or any other sounds. This gives students a much needed and often welcomed respite. With the stop Exercise – there is a cessation of all social and cognitive demands – it is just REST. Mindfulness: encourages student to be awake to their current task and situation with a one or two minute pause at the beginning of a class. A sharply delineated end to that and a beginning to this gathers the fullness of potential energy and points it to now.