Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

Editor’s Note: A Fresh Look at Education

With another summer behind us, it’s time to implement healthy changes to stale curriculums.

August 11, 2005

Just a few hours after the school year ended this past June, a chubby little catalogue from a national "adventure clothing" maker landed in my home mailbox, proudly announcing the company's end-of-summer back-to-school sale.

We in the real world know a marketing line when we see it, and ignored the catalogue's temporal time shift, instead saving the buying of fresh clothes and books for the new school year until, well, right around now. The real world has caught up and now summer vacation -- the time of drowsy afternoons, amorphous plans, and misplaced swim goggles -- is fast disappearing.

The quickened pulse of a new school year also offers a chance to look at our classrooms with fresh eyes and rededicate ourselves to their continual improvement.

Since our founding fourteen years ago, The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) has worked hard to document and disseminate the best stories of innovation in education. We've met hundreds of people and heard thousands of stories. Each one is unique, yet a number of common threads intertwine among these innovators.

This month, we've tried to distill the intellectual and emotional ideals that form both the basis of these energizing stories and of GLEF. We've included them in an insert in the magazine you're holding. We hope they'll also provide a blueprint for improving public education.

Additionally, in the next ten issues we'll explore each of these items in-depth, with longer essays that give experts a chance to dig into the complexities of these issues. Our first topic, appropriately, discusses the need to rethink the nature of time both in the classroom and the school year.

These items are not meant to be rules. When it comes to education, one size does not fit all. Students are not widgets to be mass-produced in a school assembly line, all learning the same thing at the same time in the same way. Instead, we hope the agenda items will both inspire and inform, and ultimately serve as a beacon for what we can all accomplish in the classroom.

The first few days of school are a time of nervous anticipation. They are also the days when we all seem most open to new ideas. Time to get to class.

Editor in Chief
James Daly

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