Using a food metaphor, the authors describe this as a shift "from a focus on packaged, branded product (curriculum) to the essential ingredients like vitamins and minerals (essential and beneficial strategies)." I think a strategies approach is more in sync with how SEL ought to be framed in out-of-school settings as well.
Blending techniquesSo what are some of the "essential ingredients" for promoting SEL? The report outlines four strategies for integrating SEL into daily practice:
- Routines - Routines that promote SEL skills like emotional regulation (e.g., "Stop and Stay Cool," a three-step process for staying in control of emotions) and conflict resolution (e.g., the "Peace Path," a process in which both parties state their feelings and come to a mutually agreeable solution).
- Training and Support for Staff - Help staff interact positively with youth, react effectively to emotional and social challenges, communicate clear expectations, and set up conditions for positive climates.
- Support for Adults' Own SEL Skills - Not all staff naturally possess SEL competencies themselves; They need ongoing discussion and reflection. This edutopia blog post offers five suggestions for how adult staff can build their own SEL skills.
- SEL Standards - Benchmarks provide guidance on the kinds of SEL skills that need to be fostered in everyday practice. They also play a role in guiding assessment and the use of data to improve practice.
Another way to frame "essential ingredients" is with the S.A.F.E. practices found to effectively enhance social and emotional competencies (Durlak & Weissberg, 2013):
- S - Sequenced - A planned set of activities to develop SEL skills in a step-by-step fashion.
- A - Active - Active forms of learning where youth practice SEL skills.
- F - Focused - Sufficient time and attention devoted exclusively to SEL skill development.
- E - Explicit - Specific SEL skills are defined and targeted.
Active ingredientDevelopmental relationships have been characterized as the "active ingredient" - the critical component responsible for producing desired outcomes in programs. Developmental relationships are interactions with the following features:
- Connection - Interacting with mutually positive or appropriate emotions; Being in-tune.
- Reciprocity - Balancing youth-adult roles and power.
- Progression- Presenting incremental challenge matched with appropriate support; Scaffolding.
- Participation - Inviting and involving all youth; Belonging.
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