M-CESC Teaching & Learning

November Focus: Social-Emotional Learning

Social-Emotional Learning & Ohio's Strategic Plan

The school year continues to move right along, and the holiday season is quickly approaching. This time of year is an excellent opportunity to address several of the newly-released (June 2019) standards for Social and Emotional Learning from the Ohio Department of Education.

Ohio’s new Strategic Plan, entitled, “Each Child, Our Future,” includes four learning domains: Foundational Knowledge & Skills, Well-Rounded Content, Leadership & Reasoning, and Social-Emotional Learning. Per ODE, “—Life is a shared journey. Research shows that being a part of a community improves life satisfaction and health. Living as part of a community involves understanding the importance of social interaction and personal feelings. Social-emotional learning includes competencies like self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, collaboration, empathy, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. The elements of social-emotional learning give children the tools to become resilient and persistent in life.” (ODE, 2019)

According to ODE, the social and emotional learning standards are to be taught according to each school's or district's discretion. These standards are not added to create more work for teachers and another class period for students, but are designed to be integrated into the regular curriculum to fit the needs of schools based upon their communities. These standards will not be assessed by ODE, but districts will have flexibility in how they determine mastery of the standards.

The standards are organized by grade bands: K-3, 3-5, middle school and high school; and divided into five competencies listed above. The purpose of these being that students are better prepared to understand and manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, as well as make responsible decisions. You can find further explanation as to why Ohio has decided to focus on social-emotional learning here.

Trauma-Informed Schools

According to Trauma Sensitive Schools.org (2019), trauma is not always an event but the culmination of events that lead to overwhelming stress and an inability to cope effectively. The impact of trauma can vary depending upon the child, as well as the extent of trauma (number of occurrences, period of time, age, etc.). The effects of trauma can impede brain development, learning and behavior and can significantly impact school behavior and achievement.

ODE has a great explanation as to how social-emotional learning can help students who suffer from trauma. These students often struggle to manage their emotions, which can then be exhibited as misbehavior and disrespect. The new learning standards for social and emotional learning will provide students with tools to understand their emotions and strategies for expressing them in a manner that is acceptable for the classroom. These also bring awareness to students who are not suffering from trauma about the importance of social acceptance and tolerance of difference. Teachers will build on skills to develop more positive relationship with all students.

Nearing the end of DEVOLSON

If you do not follow Love Teach on Facebook, you should. She brings humor to many of the challenges of teaching, including "The Dark Evil Vortex Of Late September, October, and November." She recently shared how she recommends coping with this challenging time of year with the readers of We Are Teachers, but she ends with the following:

1) You're not alone.

2) What you're doing is making a difference, even if you can't quite see it yet.

3) You can't spell DEVOLSON without "love" (even if it's spelled backwards).

Know that we, as curriculum specialists, are here for you and will help as needed. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us with your ideas, suggestions, or cries for help. You can find upcoming Professional Learning Opportunities here.

Madison-Champaign ESC

Department of Teaching & Learning