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SECD for All Children in All Schools

Maurice Elias

Prof. of Psychology, Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab, Director, the Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service
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When NCLB is put to rest and the ESEA reauthorization takes its place, what will it say about children's social, emotional and character development?

There will not be room for a lot about SECD in the ESEA, so I'd like to describe three essential pieces I think should be included. They are the minimum that we need to prepare children for the tests of life, not a life of tests, and for genuine, passionate, informed participation in civic life.

These recommendations can and should be part of the policy of every school and every district, in the U.S. and worldwide, public or private, magnet or charter, secular or religious:

#1. Each student should receive a minimum of one-half hour of explicit instruction per week in skills related to social-emotional and character development (SECD) as part of a comprehensive prek-12 scope and sequence (see Anchorage, Alaska, public schools for an example of such a framework, as well Appendix C of CASEL's Promoting Social and Emotional Learning: Guidelines for Educators).

#2. Every teacher, student support services provider, and administrator should have demonstrated competence in implementing evidence-based SECD programming and positive climate promotion at the classroom and/or school level (as appropriate).

#3. Every school should undertake a systematic assessment of staff and student perceptions of school climate, including school safety/bullying and student engagement/ participation/voice, at least once every two years and use that feedback in a staff-wide data review for systematic improvement of SECD competencies and school climate in schools that have a clear sense of meaning and purpose. In middle and high schools, students should be involved in the data review and planning process.

What do you think? What would be your three elements, if you had the ear of the ESEA reauthorization committee, or your own school district Board of Education? And keep it to three... that's all folks usually want to hear, at least at first!

Maurice Elias

Prof. of Psychology, Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab, Director, the Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service

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Juliet Kandel's picture

Thank you for this useful and timely blog! In item #1, you recommend one-half hour of explicit instruction. I'm guessing that you meant one-half hour per week. The lay person may understand this to mean one-half hour per year. Please clarify? Thank you!

1stGr.'s picture

I wondered the same thing and was unable to post a comment yesterday so I sent Mr. Elias a message. Will keep checking back to see if clarification was provided. Thanks!

Maurice Elias's picture
Maurice Elias
Prof. of Psychology, Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab, Director, the Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service

Yes, it should say one half hour per week. I will actually try to repost with this correction and another minor point someone else raised with me. Thanks again- Maurice

semiramida's picture

Violation of an emotional connection with the child's mother is the main cause of emotional deprivation. The warmth of mothering and its persistence are prerequisites of the child's sense of confidence in the world, which is essential for normal development of personality.This and more pure information I found on Termination of emotional contact with the mother produces in the child a primary concern, which over time increases the mistrust of others and to himself, an unwillingness to learn new things. Against the backdrop of the expressed feelings of anxiety takes the further development of such qualities of the child, the sensitivity towards others, compassion for their feelings, their own emotional self-awareness, defining a holistic child's attitude to the world. Limited or lack of early interaction with the child's mother led to the formation of an unreliable attachment gain experience insecurity research environment, to reduce the independence and activity in an unfamiliar or stressful situation, shortages of all aspects of the development.

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