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National Commission Builds Case for Connecting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development


February 1, 2018, News

The  Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development released an interim report today highlighting the important role that social and emotional development plays in student learning.

“How Learning Happens: Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development” includes initial findings on how students, teachers, parents, and administrators across the country are integrating social, emotional, and academic learning in K-12 education. It’s a milestone in the Commission’s two-year effort to engage communities nationwide.

After listening to those engaged in this work and visiting local communities that have made students’ social, emotional, and academic development a priority, the Commission’s report elaborates on the following findings:

  • Learning is social and emotional.
  • Supporting students’ social and emotional development encompasses a range of instructional approaches that must be implemented intentionally.
  • The interconnectedness of social, emotional, and academic development must be reflected in all aspects of schooling.
  • Effective social and emotional development creates learning environments that support each student’s individual needs.
  • Educators’ social and emotional knowledge and skills are crucial to this work.
  • Local communities need to shape and drive the process of comprehensively supporting students.

The Commission also has released several publications exploring important dimensions of social, emotional, and academic development. A highlight of the Commission’s first year was the release of a landmark consensus statement from a 28-member alliance of leading scientists and scholars outlining the scientific evidence for how people learn. The Council of Distinguished Scientists’ research brief, “The Evidence Base for How We Learn,” concludes that learning cannot be separated from the social and emotional dimensions of human development. Indeed, these domains are “deeply intertwined in the brain” and are central to how people learn.

The Commission will be asking for input from a broad array of stakeholders throughout 2018 to inform its final recommendations. As an initial step, the Commission is requesting responses to three key questions that are included as part of the interim report. Students, families, community members, educators, partners, and others are invited to respond to the questions via this survey link.

Read the Aspen Institute’s press release about this interim report here

You may also be interested in this article on the interim report,  “Commission Shares Progress on Efforts to Expand Social-Emotional Learning in Schools”, published in Education DIVE.

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