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Showing posts from September, 2013

Why enter the social and emotional "jungle" now?

Over the years, I have seen fads come and go in our field. I would argue that the evidence is there and the time is right to tackle the "jingle jangle jungle" of social and emotional factors Kate blogged about last week. Now is the right time to undertake an initiative aimed at making a difference in how we think about, assess, and work to improve policy and practice based on these factors. We must: Move social and emotional factors into the mainstream of what we seek for our youth. Expand how we seek to close gaps. Change how we assess what is important for youth to succeed. Change how we focus our efforts on the learning and development of our young people -- not only on tests but in school, life, college, careers and as citizens. Why now, you may ask? The conditions that make a significant effort not only the right thing to do but also the right time to move ahead tend to share three characteristics: Visibility Social and emotional factors provide a possibl

The jingle jangle jungle of social and emotional learning

Sung to the tune of "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off": You say non-cognitive and I say socio-emotional, You say initiative and I say self-direction, Engagement, motivation, Problem solving, critical thinking, Let's call the whole thing off! To be successful in school now and ready for college and careers later, young people need to develop a range of skills variously referred to as social-emotional, non-cognitive, soft or 21st century skills. In this basket of skills, you may think of self-confidence, perseverance, empathy, teamwork or critical thinking. There is increasing evidence that these skills are critical to success, but little agreement about how to label and measure them. We have different terms for similar concepts, such as initiative and self-direction. We use the same term, like engagement, to mean different things, like motivation and participation. A recent report reminds us that "21st century skills" have been valuable for centuries.