March 11, 2015

I noticed today that I have been focussing mainly on the “emotional” part of Social and Emotional Learning.  Partly because bot my kids are going through a lot of emotions lately.  However, I totally forgot about the Social aspect of Learning.

A friend of mine, gave me a booklet that she uses in her Kindergarten class called “Fun Friends – A Family Guide for Building Resilience with 4-7 year old Children through Play”.  I haven’t read the entire thing, but glanced at the first few pages.  It is meant to be worked through 12 different steps and the first one is about building your identity.  Being able to describe who you are with confidence can shape social relationships.  The book also says to practice saying these things with a smile on your face and to see what happens when you smile at them.  When people smile at each other, it usually works favourably.  The smile… so easy and simple – I should do it more often!  This made me think about my social skills and how I was never formally taught them.  I guess when you stick your kids in school there is an assumption that you kind of just let them figure it out – but what if some don’t?  I often think about my social skills (or lack thereof) and how I am envious of one of my girlfriends who is so fantastic at small talk.  She can chat up a storm with anyone and make them feel like her new best friend.  I think it’s amazing that she has that skill.  Where did she learn that from?  I don’t ever remember anyone teaching me how to talk to someone….

Through Twitter, I found a website called Collaborative Classroom and they promote Social and Emotional Learning.  I watched a couple of videos about how they teach students to talk to each other and ask questions.  They did it through”Pair Conferences”, basically working in pairs.  They had to read to each other a story that they created and then then had to ask specific questions, such as: “As I read, could you imagine what I was saying?”, “Were any parts unclear?”.  I thought this was great, because not only does it improve your listenning, but it also helps develop feedback  skills.  Working in pairs also develops a bond and can tackle issues of being afraid to talk in large groups.  Starting off small and then moving on to big.  I think starting off these skills at young ages is a great way to develop social skills.  Learning to smile when you talk, looking at people in the eye, speaking with confidence, are all things that help develop meaningful relationships.

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