Social Emotional Learning
"Our emotions need to be as educated as our intellect. It is important to know how to feel, how to respond, and how to let life in so that it can touch you." -- Jim Rohn
There is growing consensus among educational researchers that young people need to develop competencies in many areas other than academic content and skills. Graduating from high school and being prepared for college and career success require a much broader set of skills, including the ability to navigate life’s challenges, maintain healthy relationships, and manage one’s own emotions and behaviors.
In fact, many of these skills provide better predictors of success than do achievement scores. Not only do social-emotional skills support academic achievement, they also make it less likely that youth will engage in risky behaviors related to bullying, drug and alcohol use, and sexual activity.
Today’s students are preparing to enter a world in which colleges and the workplace are demanding more than ever before. To ensure all students are ready for life after high school, the Wilton Public Schools focuses on developing the social and emotional skills students will need to be successful.
- Contact Information
- Learner Goals
- Program Guiding Principles
- Curriculum State & National Standards
- WPS Curriculum Materials
Social-Emotional Program Goals
As students advance through the grades and make individual progress toward mastery of social and emotional skills, they are able to exhibit with increasing breadth and depth these capacities of the emotionally healthy and socially responsible individual:
1 They develop self-awareness and self-management skills to achieve school and life success.
Students are able to accurately recognize their emotions, effectively manage them, and constructively express them. They are able to handle stress, control impulses, and motivate themselves to persevere in overcoming obstacles. They value their inherent worth as a person, accurately assess their abilities and interests, build their strengths, and make effective use of family, school, and community resources. They are able to establish academic and personal goals and monitor their progress toward achieving them.
2 They use social-awareness and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive relationships
Students are able to build and maintain positive relationships by recognizing and honoring the thoughts, feelings, and perspectives of others, including those different from their own. They establish positive peer, family, and school/work relationships by cooperating, communicating respectfully, showing kindness, and constructively resolving conflicts with others.
3. They demonstrate appropriate decision-making skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community contexts.
Students promote their own health, avoid risky behaviors, deal honestly and fairly with others, and contribute to the good of their classroom, school, family, and community. They are able to make decisions and solve problems on the basis of accurately defining decisions to be made, anticipating the consequences of each, accessing support from others when needed, and evaluating and learning from their own decision-making.
Core Principles for Social-Emotional Learning
Much has been learned in the past few decades about school and classroom practices that effectively promote the development of social-emotional skills and dispositions. Based on this research, the Wilton Public Schools has established the following core principles for social-emotional learning:
- It is essential to employ a comprehensive and coherent approach to social-emotional learning in all classrooms for all children. High-quality social-emotional learning standards need to be addressed consistently and flexibly within and across classrooms and schools in order to achieve the desired outcomes for our learners.
- Academic learning and social-emotional learning are interconnected and mutually dependent processes that need to be addressed in an integrated way. To successfully navigate the demands of the learning environment, students must be provided with opportunities to learn self-regulation and interpersonal skills and strategies and then practice them frequently within the context of academic learning.
- An educator’s own social and emotional competence, and his/her ability to establish effective relationships with students, are the most influential factors in student social-emotional development. Educators must therefore be emotionally healthy and socially responsible themselves. They must have the capacity to scaffold student social-emotional learning by modeling and sharing their own thoughts and processes. Educator effectiveness in providing support for social-emotional learning is greatly enhanced by purposeful, job-embedded professional learning and reflective practice.
- High-quality instruction that meets the unique needs of each learner is critical for success in social-emotional learning. Teachers must consistently use evidence-based teaching strategies and well-designed school and classroom routines that support emotional regulation and conflict resolution. The classroom environment should support the concept of a community of learners who share values and beliefs, and who actively engage in learning from one another - learners from teachers, teachers from learners, and learners from learners. Time to engage in rich discussion is fundamental to social-emotional learning.
- Individualized, intensive intervention support must be provided to students who are struggling to develop social-emotional skills. A clearly defined and data-informed collaborative team process should be used to identify and monitor students in need of Scientific Research-based Interventions (SRBI).
- Instructional practices that support social-emotional learning must be informed by on-going assessment of student social-emotional performance. Teachers should know how to use reliable and valid assessment practices to measure social-emotional skills and to report progress and promote learning. Formative and summative assessments should be clear, relevant, and designed for student success.
- On-going communication and a supportive partnership between home and school positively affect student social-emotional learning. Teachers, students, and families need frequent opportunities for dialogue and inquiry around student performance and instructional needs.
- Efforts to enhance social-emotional learning must be embedded within broader efforts to improve the culture and climate of the entire school and the partnerships between the school, the family, and the community. The culture and climate of the school set the tone and focus of relationships and interactions between leaders, staff, and students, and they impact and are impacted by the culture and climate of the community.