Marketplace reporter Adriene Hill has been in Austin this week, covering SXSWedu with the LearningCurve team. She spoke with Tech’s Ben Johnson about the emergence of social and emotional learning as a trend at this year’s event.
Hunter Gehlbach, associate professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, says “human skills” are a trending topic at SXSWedu because, “at our core, we are fundamentally social creatures,” he says.
“So if students are preoccupied with this fundamental need that they don’t feel like they belong, that they’re being bullied, those kinds of things, there’s no way that they’re going to pay attention to what’s going on in the classroom,” Gehlbach says.
More research is finding that strengthening social and emotional skills can help kids learn. The focus stems from digital citizenship, and a desire to encourage kids to take a step back from their constantly connected, tech-infused, app-filled world.
Mindfulness instructor and former teacher Erin Sharaf says social and emotional learning can look different depending on how students learn best:
“It might look like students sitting on the floor doing postures that look like yoga; it might look like a bell ringing and their task right now is just to listen to the bell. It might look like eating a raisin, and really being fully present with that raisin, and actually noticing what it tastes like instead of thinking about the math lesson that they have to do next or the fight that they had at home before they came into the classroom,” she says.
Erin Sharef / Hunter Gehlbach
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