George Lucas Educational Foundation

SEL Leaders in the field

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Who do you consider to be a leader in SEL? Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence provided me with my introduction to what is now referred to as SEL. His work in Social Intelligence, highlighting the fact that emotions are contagious, is less recognized but equally as important. I also frequently refer to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's 1948 essay The Purpose of Education. As evidenced by the following quote, MLK knew SEL: “We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character--that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate”.

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Cindy Johanson's picture
Cindy Johanson
Executive Director, Edutopia

Hi Ray, it's a great question and hopefully, we'll hear back from other folks in the group.

Besides Dan Goleman (who immediately comes to mind when I hear SEL), I also think of Howard Gardner and his book "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences". This book, published in the early 80s, introduced the idea of multiple intelligences including both Interpersonal and Intrapersonal intelligences.

Ray Dorso's picture
Ray Dorso
Director of Special Services, New Milford School District

I also like Gardner. In addition to Multiple Intelligences I thought his 5 Minds for the Future was also good but I never hear anyone speak about that book. One of his "5 Minds of the Future" is the 'respectful mind' which has strong ties into SEL. I pasted in a short description for each of his '5 minds of the future' below in case anyone is interested:

* The Respectful Mind: awareness of and
appreciation for differences among
human beings and human groups.

* The Disciplinary Mind: the mastery of
major schools of thought, including
science, mathematics, and history, and of
at least one professional craft.

* The Synthesizing Mind: the ability to
integrate ideas from different disciplines
or spheres into a coherent whole and to
communicate that integration to others.

* The Creating Mind: the capacity to
uncover and clarify new problems,
questions and phenomena.

* The Ethical Mind: fulfillment of one's
responsibilities as a worker and as a

Cindy Johanson's picture
Cindy Johanson
Executive Director, Edutopia

Thanks Ray. I have not read this book -- but will add it to the list based on your description.

Jennifer Holcombe's picture
Jennifer Holcombe
After School care at the Austin Discovery School (Challenge School)

I don't know if it is my age or my preference but I did more formal training via books back in the 70's (my youth). I was in to Bruno Bettelheim who started me off learning about abnormal child psychology, maybe because my own life blocks were tucked in his stories? I'd pick up books on issues where either my blocks or my curiosities, in many areas of learning, including religion and philosophy. After that time and even still, I think it is the people, children and circumstances around me that teach me from moment to moment in the best possible way. I had a brilliant German Preschool Teacher in one classroom in where I assisted in NYC and she taught me what fairness, kindness and constancy does for a child in a caring facility. Problematic children have also taught me much as my goal was/is to try to help solve what it will take to help them (and me) to find their way to be a more creative happy functioning person.

Larry Froman's picture
Larry Froman
Professor of Psychology at Towson University

Peter Salovey should be mentioned as well.
See reference below:
Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2004). Emotional
intelligence: Theory, findings, and implications. Psychological
Inquiry, 15, 197-215.

Cindy Kruse's picture

Responsive Classroom has been providing educators with training as well as materials for many years. One of their core beliefs is that the social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum. It is amazing to see the transformation among teachers, administrators, and students when implementing the strategies in the Responsive Classroom approach.

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