Pandemic-Induced Trauma, Stress Leading to ‘Uptick’ in SEL Need

While districts brace for a loss of academic learning and wider equity gaps in the fall, the global pandemic is emerging as an opportunity to build social-emotional skills.

“We’re seeing a significant uptick in interest in social-emotional learning from districts,” Melissa Schlinger, vice president of practice and programs at the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, said. She noted isolation and rapid changes are highlighting the importance of emotional management, relationship and problem-solving skills that can help students cope.

Linda Darling-Hammond, president of the California State Board of Education, said teachers in her state are holding office hours for students. “Some of that time needs to be used for check-ins around feelings, around trauma,” she explained. “Finding out how they’re feeling, if they seem stressed, what might they seem stressed about.”

With the new shift online, districts are not expecting students to be learning for the length of the traditional school day. And where academic learning tapers off, SEL can step in.

“The name of the game, and one of the traits we could help our children develop this year, is flexibility and adaptability,” Darling-Hammond said. Giving students some agency, also a trauma-informed practice, in building their schedules within a framework of options is just one example.

Building into that schedule some time for meditation and mindfulness, not only for students but also teachers, can also enable more effective learning, emotional regulation and better behavior.

Many hope and expect the renewed focus on SEL ​to continue, or even ramp up, when students are back in school.

“To come back to school and double up on math or ELA would not be the right approach,” Schlinger said. “We really need to create a restorative, healing-centered reentry plan. I think the most important thing to think about is: How do we acknowledge this trauma that we’ve all been through?”

Excerpted from “Pandemic-Induced Trauma, Stress Leading to ‘Uptick’ in SEL Need” in Education DIVE. Read the full article.

Source: Education DIVE | Pandemic-Induced Trauma, Stress Leading to ‘Uptick’ in SEL Need, | © 2020 Industry Dive

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