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What It Means When San Diego Educators Talk About 'Supporting The Whole Child'

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June 22, 2017 1:29 p.m.

What It Means When San Diego Educators Talk About 'Supporting The Whole Child'


Maurice Elias, director, Social-Emotional Character Development Lab, Rutgers University

Related Story: What It Means When San Diego Educators Talk About 'Supporting The Whole Child'


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

You might be one of the millions of people who downloaded a mindfulness app. Well, the grave is making its way into schools. It is called social-emotional learning. And it is something that we have been hearing a lot about lately. She headed to one school to see what it looks like in the classroom and if you can graded.
She spent weeks practicing, tapping golf preparations with a tasteful pair of heels amateur lip color. Now this middle school student has 20 sets of eyes on her.
I would love to welcome everyone to glorious eighth grade exit portfolio.
The next 10 minutes will determine if she passes a great and moves on to high school. She must convince a panel she has grown in all aspects, including public speaking.
Hello, my name is Gloria and I would like to welcome you. I would first like to start off --
We used to father the Velcro kid. No matter where we were she would stay close to us.
Sold it at Mason is one of her moms.
You know you're at the bookstore and the parent is always looking for the kid, we had a kid that was like I am just right here.
That was just her personality.
It did not bother me. The concern for me was later on when she was in school being so reticent. She was not asking for help. Teachers were not really paying attention to her because she was well behaved and she needed help.
Gloria was not really a great level. Her parents enrolled her through a charter school and Linda Vista. The school staff into something called social emotional learning.
Things I creative problem-solving, relationship skills, those skills are also rooted in self-awareness and self-regulation.
Kate Dickinson has the school social emotional program. Few schools have someone like her, but the concept is gaining traction across the county and nation. The status of -- state is even developing academic standards.
It does not replace core academic skill instruction. It allows students better access.
San Diego Cooperative uses the lessons and infuses the work into nearly everything it does. Recess staff are trained to look for teachable moments on the playground. At the middle school level students are expected to advocate for themselves and nothing parents calling.
Went there a few conduct problems and children are able to connect with one another they are then spending more time in class, focusing on academic learning.
The San Diego Cooperative scores high on a climate survey the look that bullying and filling affecting and blogging. The school ranks low academically when compared to schools with similar demographics. Dickinson says academic achievement tends to be flat in earlier grades and make a steep climb in middle school.
Sometimes the things that are most valuable are not the things that are the most efficiently measurable.
Research in the field is growing. For now teachers look for signs of growth in words and how they are delivered.
Lastly, I would like to talk about personal growth. When I first entered the school I was very close. I came from a school where you were taught to be one thing and we're going to mold you until this is you are, I close down even more. At this school you are planted in a pot and told to grow. I was not used to that. I would like to thank this school for making me come to be where I am.
Gloria, as you are portfolio panels here it is my pleasure to let you know you pass with outstanding. [ APPLAUSE ]
Next year Gloria will attend Patrick Henry. Her poise makes it hard to believe she is not already there.
Social emotional learning is not a familiar idea to most above, yet it is turning out to be an essential part of what makes a child successful. Here's to help us understand better is the leader of the social emotional character development. Thank you for being here. I read a little bit about this. I like you wrote teachable -- teaching this is helping children face the test of life and not a life built with test. Do you think focus too much on testing?
I think we do. I think as we look ahead to the future and what children need, thinking about what you need to be successful in 2027 and not 2017 will require social and emotional competence. That is a skill that sometimes we push to the background because we are so focused on academic testing.
We heard Megan say emotional intelligence lays the groundwork for learning.
Learning given a personal act.With other people. Social and emotional learning give you the skills to learn how to be with other people.
It seems to me you have to show social and emotional learning is affecting how well you do one test. Is there any value in focusing if it does not help?
Testing is another interpersonal situation. If you are filled with anxiety during not going to do well on a test. Having the ability to yourself down, be mindful and reflect are very important. What about what you are before the test. The ability to fit into your work, engage with your classmates, learn with your teacher, all of those things are social and emotional competencies.
Has the been a directly drawn between students being shown more social and emotional tools and how well they do?
There have been dozens of studies that show when kids have exposure for more than one year they get significant gains in academic test scores, larger that you would typically get by having a longer school day, school year, or even afterschool remediation.
Is in that something a good teacher my subconsciously incorporate or do you think there is a value in focusing more on it?
I think there is a value in focusing on it more. It is like reading, it happened, but how do you learn how to read well, carefully, thoughtfully? I would say if you do not know how to read your want my life to be very difficult. The parallel is if you do not know how to be people and situations you will also by to be very difficult. We need to give kids explicit guidance on how to do that.
Is there a way to easily instruct the teacher to identify what a student may have social and emotional learning problems?
It is a development of skill. For example, in one school district that I am working with social and emotional learning is built into the kids report cards.
Can you say what kinds of skills they will know?
What level of self-control we should expect. Ask an example, for young children we should expect them to have self-control when prompted. We should not expect a young child to be able to master self-control in any situation. How should they show concern for their classmates? What a should we be able to expect a child to go over to a classmate and exhibit concern? That is something we can expect a third or fourth riddle, not a young kid, because they will be hesitant and unsure how to handle the situation. All of these things are developmentally linked. When teachers see it at an age-appropriate level it is my, when they do not the raise concern.
It seems subjective, how do you actually assess the child's level?
If you know developmentally that a child should be able to go over to a group of friends and know how to work the way into the group successfully, that is something a teacher will see many times during the course of the day. It is pretty objective. The fact that it is not recorded on a test does not meet is not objective. I think we have let teachers now but not trusting their building to observe.
Do you think it will be a good idea to have more formal testing?
I think the issue of testing if an AA sort. I think you want to focus the testing on the skills that you are teaching. Many of the test are general. They don't necessarily give you feedback on the curriculum you are using. I think if you are going to use a standardized test there needs to be local assessment that is matched to what you are specifically focused on. It is not only social and emotional, it is certain values and attitudes that you are looking for the key is to have.
About to think about for a teacher.
They have to think about it anyway. We found that as teachers focus more on social and emotional learning in the classroom they find the classroom is more enjoyable. The kids are better behaved and they get back more instructional time then they lose by engaging in social and emotional instruction. We find teachers to be the biggest advocates because it improves their job situation.
Thank you very much.
My pleasure.