Thursday, December 15, 2016

Build Program on Evidence-based Social Emotional Learning

Programs like Second Step developed by Committee for Children have research to show the proper sequence and have developed tools and lessons to teach pro-social and emotional skills. Other popular concepts like Grit, Growth Mindset, Mindfulness, Resilience, and Self-regulation are all similar to SEL but not all are skill based and the research on how to teach them and how to measure them is still being developed. According to Committee for Children these terms can be defined as:

Grit “Grit” is having the disposition to pursue and achieve long-term goals with passion and perseverance. It is having the self-control for sustained, focused effort to follow through and endure through obstacles and discouragement.

Growth Mindset “Growth mindset” is the idea that intelligence can be developed through effort. It is having belief in one’s individual capabilities and seeing one’s own control over the present and future. It is having confidence that abilities can improve through hard work and seeking challenging learning opportunities, viewing them as moments to learn.

“Mindfulness” is being aware of one’s own feelings, thoughts, body sensations, and the surrounding environment. It is having a deliberate and conscious focus on the present moment by directing attention to one’s experiences without labeling or judging them in any way.

Resilience “Resilience” is the ability to adapt well to change, recover from setbacks, and keep going in the face of adversity.

Another idea that is getting lots of attention is Self-regulation. “Self-regulation” is the ability to monitor and control our own behavior, emotions, or thoughts, altering them in accordance with the demands of the situation. It includes the abilities to inhibit first responses, to resist interference from irrelevant stimulation, and to persist on relevant tasks even when we don't enjoy them (

We include all of these concepts in our school counseling program but depend on Second Step as the anchor for the tier 1 and tier 2 components of the program because it is evidence-based. To further teach children about their brains and  develop mindful awareness we use the MindUp Curriculum from the Hawn Foundation because it has been studied in schools. We use MindUp in both tier 1 and 2 but not as extensively as Second Step. We are always looking for evidence-based programs and practices to improve the school counseling program.

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