A recent New York Times Magazine article highlights a growing trend in school reform: teaching children emotional intelligence. This strategy, known as social-emotional learning (S.E.L.), may improve not only student behavior but also academic achievement. When children are unable to manage strong emotions, such as anger and anxiety, they have difficulty learning new information. Social-emotional learning programs aim to teach children skills that help them to recognize and express their emotions.
Economist and Nobel laureate James Heckman argues in a recent New York Times Op-Ed that learning emotional intelligence skills is especially important for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are more likely have less family support. Heckman says that social-emotional intelligence is as important as cognitive skills and that more early-childhood programs need to focus on teaching S.E.L. skills such as self-control and perseverance.
This coming Thursday, September 26, Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate, will open the Schubert Center’s 2013-2014 Conversation Series. She will speak about the importance of social-emotional intelligence and her book Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. Download an issue brief on the importance of social-emotional learning in fostering a safe school climate and increasing student success.