How do we combat a pop-culture that is predicated on an immediacy of gratification and an assignment of self-worth that is based more on style than substance? How do we make sure our kids are developing in a way that gives them an opportunity to relate to more than a screen? How do we make sure our kids are growing and developing socially with the ability to gain both a sense of self-worth and community accountability and responsibility? How do we make sure our kids are developing emotionally so that they understand that work and failure, then overcoming failure to eventually succeed are much more likely in life than quick and immediate success? How do we insure our kids are truly developing? We do it purposefully.
Social and emotional education is in many ways very natural. Teachers are constantly redirecting inappropriate behaviors while teaching actions and words that are classroom acceptable. But these incidental and incremental social and emotional trainings are no longer enough. Think about the barrage of information on our kids that is constantly streaming redefined values and words and deeds that run contrary to who they should grow to become. Incidental and incremental social and emotional training will not counter these social influencers. They will also not be enough to insure your classrooms are rightfully defined from a social expectation and therefore behavioral standpoint. These incremental and incidental trainings will not be enough to make sure your students are emotionally growing and coping with the stressors of friends, media, family, and school.
It is time to reclaim classrooms and develop the core social and emotional skills necessary to make our kids teachable students and capable classmates. It is time to intentionally and purposefully teach, measure and report the social and emotional development of our students.