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What Is Social and Emotional Learning?

  • Social and emotional learning can be broadly defined as a process through which people learn, develop, and demonstrate the social, emotional, behavioral, attitudinal, and academic skills that lead to success in learning, play, friendships, relationships, life, work, and business. A main goal of social and emotional learning should be to enable developmentally-appropriate, culturally accurate, and situation-appropriate social and emotional competence.
  • One of the most basic ways we can help all students develop social and emotional competence is to emphasize skill development. People who have a degree of social and emotional competence have the learned ability to interact with others (social) and manage their inner lives (emotional). These abilities are captured in five social and emotional competencies: cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control (C.A.R.E.S.). The skills that make up these competencies can and should be explicitly taught in the same way that any academic or life skill is taught.

Social Competence

Social competence refers to one’s ability to make positive contributions to their community and society, and their ability to cooperate well with others.

Emotional Competence

Emotional competence refers to one’s ability to identify and understand their emotions and how those emotions can impact their thoughts, behaviors, and attitude. It involves understanding that emotions can be processed so one can remain calm, focused, and successful even in the face of negative feelings.

Why Is It important to Explicitly Teach Social and Emotional Skills?

  • Explicit instruction empowers teachers to break down content into manageable pieces and encourages students to engage deeply with the lessons. It helps teachers clearly implement interactive learning structures and differentiate for individual and independent practice, which makes them better able to check for understanding and provide targeted opportunities for SEL growth.
  • We have seen that presenting new ideas, giving students time to engage with the concepts, and providing real-time practice and assessment are steps that work. When we employ these strategies for social and emotional learning, students will be successful in demonstrating cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control——skills they need in and out of the classroom to be successful now and in the future.

How Fly Five is Designed to Support SEL Skill Development

  • Fly Five lessons embrace the principles of instructional design that empower students to make sense of the learning by being able to map the structure of their world onto the learning (Jonassen, D.H., 1991b).
  • The instructional design decisions for Fly Five have the following emphases (Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J., 2013): (1) anchoring learning in meaningful context; (2) providing learners the ability to actively engage in and use what they learn; (3) presenting the information, ideas, concepts, and content in a variety of ways; (4) going beyond just giving information to develop problem-solving skills that allow learners to think constructively about how they might transfer the learning to situations that differ from the instruction or the examples presented in the lesson; (5) giving voice and choice to the learner and providing the capacity to interact with the content and information; (6) providing the dosage of instruction that is needed to achieve the intended outcomes; (7) structuring the instruction so that students can follow it easily; and (8) empowering the teacher to extrapolate, extend, or generalize so that they can be responsive to students in the moment.
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