New Year's resolutions are often about our own personal well-being: diet, exercise, curbing bad habits, maybe being nicer. For 2012, try something a little different; resolve to be a SEL/SECD champion for children. What exactly does that mean?
The responses to my post last week raised some interesting questions. I described how I offered my middle school students the letter-writing genre as a way to express their feelings. Many wrote to loved ones who were no longer in their lives; their letters were powerful and heavy with emotions.
Here's an experiment you can conduct in many schools, maybe even the school where you teach. Look through the door of one classroom and you might see the students hunched over, not engaged, even frowning. The teacher looks frazzled, tired and wishing he or she were somewhere else. You might think, "Well, everyone has a bad day." But you might witness this scenario in this teacher's classroom no matter what day you look through the door. For the second part of the experiment, look through the door of another classroom, and you might see a room full of lively students, eager, engaged and participating. The teacher is full of energy and smiling. This happens no matter what day you look through that door.
This is a season of celebrations. Whether it's Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or commemorations that are linked to the lunar calendar coming up now, such as Ashura, the 10th of Muharram, it's safe to say that most of the world's populations are taking time to remember some important events during this month.
Superintendent Peter Gorman of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District in North Carolina is visiting Cochrane Middle School, a struggling school in a high-poverty community in east Charlotte. Known for his no-nonsense determination to turn around the district's failing schools, Gorman minces no words in describing Cochrane: "This may be the worst school I have ever seen."
If your family is like most families, you took a few moments on Thanksgiving to give thanks for your food, the company of those around the table, and for the good things that happened in the past year. Many of you did this even though it may have not been such a good year, and perhaps you lost people who had been around the table only a year ago, so full of life.
Most people acknowledge that their stress level goes up around the winter holidays. Crowded shopping malls, financial pressures, and additional responsibilities at home, work and in the community can all contribute. Educators can also experience another level of stress: addressing the December holidays at a public school.
The most important part of any social-emotional learning (SEL) or social-emotional character development curriculum (SECD) is skill development. But the formal lessons only serve to introduce the skills. Whether or not the skills are learned and generalized depends on the pedagogical procedure used.
This seven part series, from the Project Happiness curriculum, explores the many facets of happiness and provides practical techniques to generate greater happiness and a more meaningful life -- from the inside.