Understanding Anger and School Shootings

School shootings have become horrifically common in recent years, and it’s a problem that educators simply cannot ignore.

Another thing we cannot ignore? The link between these shootings, anger and bullying.

In a series of articles on anger management and gun violence for Slate.com, journalist Laura Hayes writes about characteristics of mass killers.

“Many, if not all, grew up in homes where there was domestic violence, emotional and physical abuse. They are emotionally fragile,” she writes. “They’re threatened by hostility from others, and they also engender it. The dislike and hostility they raise in others leaves them isolated, and the bullying feeds a vicious cycle where kids with minimal emotional self-control are baited into greater and greater levels of hostile defensiveness.”

Hayes also provides a solution, or at least the beginning of one.

“Schools are on the front line for identifying these individuals as kids,” she writes. “In the school environment, isolation and hostility can pretty readily be observed, often by teachers and administrators, and certainly by fellow students.”

When we do identify those kids, it’s important that we go beyond labeling them as “problem children” or even “jerks” and sending them to detention. Instead,  we must advocate for programs that provide these kids anger avoidance tools and education about how to overcome violent tendencies.

The link between bullying, loss and violence

In a 2004 report of the Safe Schools Initiative, a joint project of the United States Secret Service and the Dept. of Education, researchers found that about three quarters of attackers in 37 shootings “felt bullied, persecuted, or injured by others prior to the attack.”

This points to the importance of anti-bullying education and a focus on social and emotional learning (SEL) initiatives, which are designed to help students learn coping skills.

But what about the 25 percent of kids who weren’t bullied? The report pointed to another data point that may shed some light on the issue: 98 percent of attackers “had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal failures. Moreover, many had considered or attempted suicide.”

These losses included a loss of status, the loss of a romantic relationship, and a major illness in the attacker or within his family.

The study reinforces our deeply held belief in equitable and inclusive education. Rather than distancing students we might label as problem kids we need to understand them.

Think about it this way:  Often, kids are isolated and bullied by their peers. Then, they cause trouble in order to get attention. This often leads to disciplinary action, such as alternative classrooms or detention. At the same time, that kid’s peers will be told by their parents to keep their distance.

So what’s the alternative?

What educators can do

There are no easy answers here, but at Education Lifeskills, we believe that a thorough, integrated SEL the right direction is the best way forward.

We can start by using anger avoidance techniques such as:

  • Mindfulness
  • Self-awareness
  • Identifying the four sources of anger (abuse, doing wrong, force and things beyond our control
  • Staying connected with others while we work through our anger

School shootings have become horrifically common in recent years, and it’s a problem that educators simply cannot ignore.

Another thing we cannot ignore? The link between these shootings, anger and bullying.

In a series of articles on anger management and gun violence for Slate.com, journalist Laura Hayes writes about characteristics of mass killers.

“Many, if not all, grew up in homes where there was domestic violence, emotional and physical abuse. They are emotionally fragile,” she writes. “They’re threatened by hostility from others, and they also engender it. The dislike and hostility they raise in others leaves them isolated, and the bullying feeds a vicious cycle where kids with minimal emotional self-control are baited into greater and greater levels of hostile defensiveness.”

Hayes also provides a solution, or at least the beginning of one.

“Schools are on the front line for identifying these individuals as kids,” she writes. “In the school environment, isolation and hostility can pretty readily be observed, often by teachers and administrators, and certainly by fellow students.”

When we do identify those kids, it’s important that we go beyond labeling them as “problem children” or even “jerks” and sending them to detention. Instead,  we must advocate for programs that provide these kids anger avoidance tools and education about how to overcome violent tendencies.

How to get started

If your school needs specific resources for anti-bullying education, we also encourage you to read about our courses and schedule a demo.

We would also like to hear from educators around the country about how they help kids who are at risk of becoming mass shooters. Please share and comment on our social media pages, and reach out to us at [email protected].

Urban Collaborative Attendees: What is SEL in Practice?

If you’ve been in the education space for long, you’ve probably heard the term SEL. Most teaching professionals can even define it: social and emotional learning.

But based on what we learned recently at the Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative conference, that may be where universal agreement on SEL ends.

Education Lifeskills President Trevor Lloyd attended the event alongside ONEder, one of our newest eLearning partners. He got some insight into the definition of SEL while participating in one of the conference’s many excellent breakout sessions.

Academic Definitions of SEL

For some, SEL is a pedagogy that focuses on the study and application of emotional intelligence (EI). SEL can also be defined as skills related to emotions, goal setting, empathy, relationships and decision-making.

As recently as 2015, a group of researchers from the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis at Washington University put an emphasis on awareness. They defined “SE skills” as those relating to self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.

Even if we all agreed on a definition of SEL, what does that mean in the classroom day to day? Is that different from what it means in curriculum planning, school board meetings or budget allocation discussions?

Our Approach: SEL+CLS

Every school is different, and so is every student, every teacher and every district. There are no definitive answers. However, our 40+ years of boots-on-the-ground SEL experience have brought us to one simple focus: challenging thinking errors, and doing it in a way that doesn’t provoke resistance.

We call it SEL+CLS, or social and emotional learning PLUS cognitive life skills. Check out our courses to find out more about the Education Lifeskills methodology.

Have Opinions on SEL? Join our Education Focus Group!

We are passionate about helping students make improvements in their thinking and behavior, and we are confident that top-notch SEL can make our students’ lives happier and more successful.

But we can’t do it alone. That’s where our new focus group comes in, and we’re actively recruiting a panel of the most highly qualified SEL educators in the country.

If you’re accepted as a member of this focus group, we will ask you to demo our cognitive and behavioral life skills curriculum and our corresponding Lifeskills Link platform. We’ll just ask that you follow up with a survey. In return, we are happy to provide your school with 3 free courses at a value of $65 per course.

Why so much focus on  SEL?

While there were many discussions about what SEL is at the Urban Collaborative conference, there were many more about how important it is. We were honored to hear from the Antoine Hickman, the Urban Collective Executive Director and also the head of Exceptional Student Learning Support for Broward County in Florida. In light of the recent school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, which is in his district, his comments about the importance of SEL in preventing school violence were particularly impactful.

SEL Tweet
LeDerick Home meets with Antoine Hickman during the Urban Collaborative Conference.

We also heard from incredible educators working in Chicago, and talked with heads of special education from school districts all over the country. We were encouraged to hear about how helpful SEL can be in addressing problems ranging from the school-to-prison pipeline to dropouts, truancy, bullying and more.

13 Things You Need in a Life Skills Curriculum

School systems in the US often don’t provide life skill lessons in curriculums. The focus is often only on basics of academic work, putting high school graduates at a disadvantage when leaving the system. Students entering the world frequently don’t know how to complete pertinent tasks, such as creating budgets and managing money. If parents don’t teach these skills at home, the students go without necessary knowledge when they begin their lives. Luckily, there are Education Life Skills curriculum courses designed to augment school academics.

What are Life Skills?

Life skills are the attributes learned to deal with day-to- day life as an adult. Public and private schools often touch on many life skills, but don’t delve into the depths. Students who have parents or others teach them valuable life skills have the advantage when real life begins. Life skills can include:

  • Managing money
  • Mental health
  • Stress management
  • Dating
  • Substance abuse
  • Online behaviors
  • Cognitive skills
  • Leadership
  • Positive Thinking

Obtaining Life Skills

Many life skills are only touched upon in schooling. Hours are filled learning basic academia, including math, science, language arts, and history. This doesn’t leave much time for life skills training. If a school district doesn’t offer skills training, it is up to parents to implement programs for children. The process should begin during the early grades, with an age-appropriate curriculum. Various life skills courses are available for use by parents and students.

Boundaries

Children should learn dating boundaries and etiquette before they begin dating. The Boundaries course offers middle and high school students the opportunity to explore dating and relationships. It covers appropriate boundaries and interactions between individuals.

Bullying Prevention

Bullying and teenage suicide are a problem in our schools. Approximately 28% of US high school students have experienced bullying and 70% of students have witnessed bullying in their schools. This course takes a look at the sides of the person bullying and the victim of bullying. It’s a comprehensive course covering bullying and cyberbullying.

Substance Abuse Prevention

Many school programs touch on substance abuse, but few offer in-depth courses on the subject. High school student marijuana and alcohol use has decreased in recent years, but prescription drug use is growing exponentially. This is an evidence-based course which demonstrates the current risks involved for high school students.

Distracted Driving

Teen drivers are the most at-risk age group for distracted driving accidents. The statistics are frightening: 9% of teen drivers are involved in distracted driving fatalities. This course offers an overview of the trend and the risks.

Cognitive Skills

Teenagers in public schools do not receive critical thinking training. For this reason, many don’t succeed in the first years of a career. They may be physically and academically able to succeed, but lack important decision-making skills. This course works to elevate cognitive thinking skills and improve behaviors.

Financial Intelligence

Many students are not taught to manage their own finances and don’t understand the dangers of credit card debt. More students drop out of college due to credit card debt than academic failure.
Our financial intelligence course covers important aspects of financial management, including how to spend within monetary limits.

Media Awareness

It is difficult for parents to keep up with changing technology and student’s online behaviors. This course provides information for teenagers to remain responsible online and outlines risks they may encounter.

Leadership

Many schools offer student leadership opportunities, but the course lacks depth. Students may have involvement in student government, yet don’t learn how to lead people. This course discusses how to become a leader and what traits build desirable leaders.

Marijuana Prevention

With the legalization of marijuana in many states, students are often confused about the drug. This course focuses on thinking errors associated with marijuana abuse. It explores the effects of marijuana abuse on real lives.

Positive Thinking Skills

Up to 8% of teenagers experience depressive episodes and 13.8% have considered suicide. The mental health of our teenagers is suffering, which is why this course is offered. It covers positive thinking and addresses low self-esteem.

Cognitive Sexual Awareness

This course is not the same as sex education. It is designed to increase sexual awareness in teenagers and guide them to make healthy decisions. The course addresses changing bodies and hormones associated with the teenage years.

Tobacco Awareness

The CDC reports that 9 out of 10 smokers started before the age of 18. The prevalence of tobacco is a serious public health concern. This course covers tobacco use and harm to the body, especially for long-term use.

Truancy Prevention

Often students dropping out of school cite social or emotional reasons. This course addresses the fallacies in thinking which lead to student drop-out. It is designed to help students with social, emotional, and academic progress.

Building Life Skills in Youth

Children and teenagers need us to help them. The best way to create a well-rounded adult is to offer not only academic, but life skills. Life skills courses allow teenagers to develop into knowledgeable and cognitively aware adults. If you have a middle or high school student in your home, consider augmenting his or her education with life skills curriculum.

10 Life Skills Your Kids Should Learn in High School

High school can be a stressful time. Many students are panicking about having grades solid enough to get into college. Others are grappling with the daunting idea of graduation from high
school and dealing with new, more serious responsibilities. Social situations make the lives of others challenging, to the point where many have suicidal thoughts. No matter what your child’s plans are after high school, there are certain life skills that they should know to effectively communicate and build relationships with people. During the high school years, be sure your teenager has these ten life skills to enter the world prepared for battle.

Personal Goal Setting

Setting incremental goals can help college students and young adults succeed. Goals should include short-term, long-term, personal, and professional goals. Without formal goals, young adults lack a solid direction and can suffer in all aspects of life. Before sending your high school student out into the world, be sure to help him or her to establish incremental goals.

Positive Thinking and Stress Management

41.6% of college students experience frequent anxiety problems. This may be due, in part, to a lack of stress management training. Every person needs to understand how to relieve stress and remain emotionally healthy. Teaching your student how to deal with the imperfections and stressors in life can improve mental health problems in the future.

Conflict Management

Schools don’t teach much in the way of conflict management and resolution. In elementary school, students are taught to share and keep hands to themselves. Past that point, many students don’t learn how to deal with conflict. Teach your children to manage conflict effectively when the opportunity presents itself. It can also be very helpful to enroll students in short conflict management courses to further develop skills.

Leadership

Student leaders and student body organizations label themselves as leadership programs, but don’t teach it. Students are often elected to the bodies and represent classes, but don’t learn actual leadership skills. Teach your child from a young age how to be a leader and accept different personalities. Even if the child doesn’t grow up to fill leadership roles, the skill will always be helpful for peer interaction.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Children are taught to sit and listen at an early age but aren’t taught how to properly interact with people. Parents need to teach children active listening skills. Most people listen with the intent to
reply, instead of listening to understand. If you’re guilty of this yourself, find a course in communication and interpersonal skills. Most people don’t have this skill, so you are placing your child in an advantageous position if he or she learns how to communicate effectively.

Cognitive Skills

Children are often taught to listen and regurgitate information for tests. They are rarely required to think critically, or problem solve. Cognitive and critical thinking skills require a good deal of
time and effort to teach. The process should be long-term, so students can develop habits of better cognition. Cognitive skill courses are a good option to implement the best methods for
your child to succeed.

Time Management

Many students don’t know how to manage time properly. Often, children are on structured schedules at home, but don’t continue them when they move out of the house. Teach your student to manage time effectively on their own. This will probably involve trial and error, but allowing them to see consequences of poor time management is the best way to ensure long-term success.

Financial Intelligence

College students often begin their lives piled in debt from school loans and credit card balances. While there is often no way to avoid student loan debt, teach your child how to spend within their limits. Educate them on the perils of accruing credit card debt and living outside their means. It’s also a good idea to work with your teenager to create a formal budget. It seems simple, but many young adults struggle with this skill.

Substance Abuse

Schools often touch on the subject of substance abuse, but it needs to be an ongoing education for students and young adults. Alcohol and marijuana use has slightly declined in the youth population, but prescription drug use is climbing. Take the opportunity to discuss substance abuse with your child on a regular basis. Be sure you don’t overwhelm them, but keep the lines
of communication open for discussion.

Bullying

Bullying, mental health issues, and suicide have sadly become a way of life for today’s youth. Schools often address these problems effectively but be sure to be involved in your child’s mental health care. Look for signs your child is being bullied or is becoming depressed. Help teach them from an early age to ask for help when they need it. Never shun your child’s feelings or tell them to “get over it.” Mental health problems are real and can have a serious impact on young adults’ lives.

Life Skills in High School

There are many teachable life skills and this is not close to a comprehensive list. Pay attention to the soft skills your child needs. Think back to the things you wish you had known as a graduating high school student and incorporate them into your child’s life. Students can never be too prepared academically or with life skills.

Education Lifeskills and ONEder

PROVO, UT 04/17/2018- Education Lifeskills is excited to announce that our eLearning courses are now available on ONEder. ONEder is a unique platform that focuses on adapting content and making it more accessible to individuals with a wide range of learning or functional disabilities. Their software also offers many in-depth data analysis tools to help monitor students progress. With ONEder, all of our Education Lifeskills eLearning courses are now more accessible and adaptable to individuals who require learning accommodations.

What is ONEder?

ONEder’s founder, Jonathan Izak, developed ONEder out of a need to communicate with his non-verbal brother. At Education Lifeskills we understand that communication is at the heart of learning. Working with ONEder is part of our ongoing passion to provide evidence-based cognitive lifeskills learning opportunities to as many students as possible. Our aim at Education Lifeskills is to provide students with the essential cognitive life skills that will help them transition into successful adult members of society. Now with our eLearning courses on ONEder we will be able to help a wider range of students with all levels of reading and compression skills.

Eliaz Shapira, Chief Executive Officer at ONEder, stated that “we are thrilled to make Education Lifeskills’ curriculum available to students nationwide. The combination of their curriculum with the ONEder platform—which contains supports and accommodations tailored to the unique learning needs of the individual—is an important step toward closing the opportunity gap. In addition, their curriculum will now provide important insights for parents and administrators. As students complete activities, data will be collected to show parents and administrators how their students are progressing toward standards and goals.”

The Mission of Education Lifeskills

Before Education Lifeskills was formally created, our parent company ACCI Lifeskills (American Community Corrections Institute) received an increasing amount of requests from schools, school districts, and parents to develop a catalog of courses expressly for junior high and high school students. The main feedback that we received from our criminal justice clients and program participants was that they wished that they had been taught ACCI’s essential cognitive life skills while they were in school. This concept and goal is what led to the founding of Education Lifeskills.

What can you do?

We are excited to form partnerships and relationships with schools, school districts, and communities that understand the value of SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) which helps students overcome their self-defeating thoughts and behaviors and achieve higher levels of success academically and socially. As a society, our way of life depends on the ability of the rising generation to be prepared to meet current and future challenges.

Education Lifeskills has an array of course topics and program options that help schools increase the effectiveness of their prevention and intervention efforts. Schools can get started by creating a Lifeskills Link Account on our website to enroll a student into one of our courses. Contact us via our website www.educationlifeskills.com for more information.

Brand new Tobacco Awareness Course!

The dangers of tobacco use have never been more apparent than they are today. Yet, there are still far too many teens experimenting with this (harmful substance) and suffering the consequences. Our goal at Education Lifeskills is to help teens safely navigate their teenage years and prepare them for adulthood. This goal extends to helping them be educated on tobacco use and give them the thinking tools to avoid a tobacco addiction. With this goal in mind, Education Lifeskills is releasing our brand new Tobacco Awareness Course. This course is the first of it’s kind in Education Lifeskills wide range of teen focused course offerings.

Two teen friends

This course is designed for both prevention and early intervention for students who are considering or experimenting with tobacco use. All types of tobacco use are addressed including vaping, e-cigarettes, and chewing tobacco. Students are presented with several facts, stories and questions that help them see clearly the risks associated with tobacco use. Our courses are designed to help the student engage with content and create an interactive learning environment. Just like all of our courses, our Tobacco Awareness course is available in both printed hard copy format and online eLearning format. Our eLearning courses are also equipped with accessibility features to make the courses usable for individuals with many learning and physical disabilities. We at Education Lifeskills want to be able to provide courses that are successful for every student and take into account their unique challenges when it comes to learning.

Our courses are created using unique cognitive restructuring techniques. These cognitive restructuring techniques work to help change negative and self-defeating thoughts and behaviors, and pave the way for positivity to take their place. This type cognitive restructuring is an evidence based model that is used in all of the Education Lifeskills courses and our parent company ACCI Lifeskills. We believe that people are inherently good and that negative actions are the results of negative thoughts and behaviors. We know that these negative thoughts and behaviors aren’t permanent and can be changed and replaced with positive thoughts and behaviors. This idea is what led our founder Larry Lloyd to create ACCI Lifeskills and subsequently Education Lifeskills.

For a complete catalog of our course offerings, and to learn more about our organization, visit our website www.educationlifeskills.com today.

Social and Emotional Learning: 5 Tips for Better Decision Making

One strand of social-emotional learning involves decision-making skills. Children learn to make good choices in a series of stages, and teachers can facilitate the process in the classroom. Helping children develop strong decision-making skills will give them an important ability that will help them throughout their entire lives. Follow these 5 tips to teach your students better decision making.

Let Children Make Choices

In many schools, the teacher makes all of the choices in the classroom in an effort to maintain order and organization. Letting the children make choices will give them a sense of responsibility and help them learn how to make good choices. Make sure you are happy with all of the options you provide, so you do not need to negate their decision if they choose a certain avenue. Going against their decision would make the child lose confidence in their ability to make choices, seriously hindering the development of their social and emotional learning. Show enthusiasm for their decision so that they can begin feeling more confident making their own choices.

Discuss Everyday Decisions with the Children

Develop SEL by discussing some decisions that you make everyday with the children. Bring up a simple choice that you make and talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each option so that the children can learn how to have those thoughts when they are making a choice.

Teach Them Decision-Making Steps

Along with discussing your own decisions with them, you can teach children certain steps to aid in their decision-making. Teach them to identify the decision that needs to be made, think about what their options are, evaluate the different options, make a choice, and act on that decision to see how it works. Accentuating these steps may seem redundant, but it will help them thoughtfully make decisions and develop social and emotional learning skills.

Ask Open-Ended Questions to Promote Thoughtful Decision-Making

After the children have made a choice, ask open-ended questions that encourage them to think about why they chose that option. Questions like “How do you like that?” are a good way to get their minds going. Pushing them to discuss their decision out loud will force them to understand why they made their decision, what the consequences were, and how they can improve their decision-making the next time they are faced with a choice.

Encourage Them to Set Goals That They Can Achieve

Setting goals is always a good activity to incorporate into teaching. Having children set an achievable goal will help them think through the decisions they make in an effort to achieve the goal. A vital part of having them set goals is that they are able to fulfill them. Failing to meet a goal will damage a child’s confidence and make them question many of the things that they learned in the process. Make sure to vocally and enthusiastically support them as they take steps to get closer to achieving their goal. If they can become excited about the process, they will feel more motivated to make good decisions to reach their goal.

How Does My School See Social Emotional Learning?

Incorporating social emotional learning (SEL) into schools is becoming a major point of discussion in education. SEL is proven to help students create relationships, learn, and develop skills that are necessary for them to succeed later in life. Many people believe that SEL is a vital part of a student’s learning and that schools should include it in their curriculum. However, many schools are still not setting aside space for SEL in the school system. In order to understand the future of SEL in schools, it is important to know how school officials see SEL and why it is not being implemented in school curriculums.

Teachers

Among teachers, there are 3 general categories that most fall into regarding their opinions about SEL. The first is a teacher who is supportive of incorporating SEL and believes that most of their school is also in support. The second type is a teacher who is personally supportive of SEL but believes that the majority of their school district does not share those views and does not feel a push to include it in their classroom. The third category involves a teacher who does not feel comfortable teaching SEL in the classroom but wants to do all that they can to improve the learning environment for students and acknowledges that social emotional skills are a valuable aspect of a student’s educational experience.

All three categories describe teachers who are generally supportive of SEL in the classroom. The main differences between the 3 were whether the teacher felt that their school supported them teaching SEL and whether they personally felt confident enough to teach social emotional skills.

Principals

The viewpoint on SEL among school principals was similar to teachers. A study for CASEL conducted in March 2017 revealed that, while the vast majority of principals are in support of teaching students social emotional skills, 83% of them do not know how they would incorporate that into their school.

Due to the confusion about how to teach social emotional skills, only one-third of principals have plans to include SEL learning in their school. There is widespread interest in incorporating SEL, but limited knowledge about how to effectively do it.

Other Factors for Incorporating SEL in Schools

One of the largest factors in whether schools are going to incorporate SEL is district leadership. Only 40% of principals reported that their district required all schools to have a plan for teaching social emotional skills. In order to be able to teach SEL, teachers need to be shown how to appropriately implement social emotional skills in their classroom. They also need certain resources. Teachers can only receive the knowledge and resources that SEL requires if they have district leadership actively focusing on how to best teach students social emotional skills.

The report for CASEL revealed that schools that have more people actively implementing SEL are more successful in helping the students develop social emotional skills. Principals and school
administrators, teachers, and counselors overwhelmingly engage in developing social emotional skills, but many other school officials are not as actively focusing on it, hindering the school’s ability to fully and successfully implement SEL into a student’s education.

Why High Schools Should Be Teaching Life Skills

Most of what curriculum covers throughout school focuses on academic information, with very few opportunities for students to focus on developing cognitive life skills. A primary purpose of high school is to prepare students for college or other further studies, but successful young adults must also perform in real-world situations. Positive thinking courses in high school can provide them with the tools for lifelong personal and professional achievement.

Math Isn’t Money Management

Students need math, algebra and geometry, but that doesn’t teach them skills for financial success. Even courses like finance and accounting focus more on theory than developing basic money skills.

Students finish high school and start adulthood without knowing how to create a budget, balance a checkbook, read bank statements or plan for saving. They often say they’re interested in investing, but they don’t know how the stock market works. They know bad credit should be avoided, but they aren’t sure what steps they can take to build good credit or how that impacts things like insurance rates and auto loans.

Mental Illness Is Extremely Prevalent

A report on the state of mental health in America estimates one in five adults has a mental health condition. Youth depression is getting worse every year and 80 percent of depressed teens receive little or no treatment. Students don’t understand conditions like ADHD, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia, and their lack of understanding keeps those with mental illness from seeking help. If students had regular instruction on mental illness as part of required learning, they could learn to better recognize it and have compassion for those experiencing it.

Manners Still Matter

Students finish school and enter the workplace with no idea how to behave in a professional setting. Communication breaks down because they don’t have guidelines for sending an email to co-workers and superiors or what type of behavior is polite. Classes should teach how to respond appropriately in a range of situations to instruct students on common etiquette.

Cooking Is Good for the Soul

Many children grow up eating food handed to them through a drive-through window. They may have working parents who don’t have time to cook or who never learned themselves. Part of the reason for the obesity epidemic is a large portion of the population doesn’t know how to prepare healthy meals. Basic cooking skills help improve health, save money and create positive family interactions.

Good Time Management Creates Balance

Many people live under extreme stress because they feel they can’t accomplish all the tasks for which they’re responsible. Time management doesn’t just involve squeezing the most productivity out of every minute, it helps allocate time for enjoyment.

Students have access to technology that allows them to stay self-disciplined, organize priorities and locate resources for relaxation. Life skills curriculum can point out the need for good time management and help students find tools for making it a habit.

Schools face an ongoing challenge when it comes to equipping tomorrow’s workforce. High schools can prepare students for success by giving them the skills they need to become productive adults.

How to Teach Social-Emotional Learning

Educators and administrators are still discovering what the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) means for schools, but most agree one change is positive for children. ESSA prioritizes social-emotional learning as critical to helping students develop the skills they need for success. Whether you’re developing a life skills curriculum or planning for the year ahead, teaching cognitive life skills will play a major role. Learn the core components of social-emotional learning (SEL) and how to bring positive thinking courses into the classroom today.

Social-Emotional Learning Competencies

There are five components of SEL that can be integrated into almost every lesson.

  • Self-awareness – Students should gradually develop the skills necessary to identify their own thoughts, emotions, strengths and values. Doing so promotes self-confidence and a growth mindset.
  • Self-management – Children can learn to not just monitor, but regulate their feelings to control impulses, manage stress and develop healthy habits.
  • Social awareness – This competency focuses on developing empathy, showing respect and valuing diversity.
  • Relationship skills – Students learn to communicate, work together in teams and respond appropriately in social situations.
  • Decision-making – Children begin to respond to decisions by identifying problems, evaluating their options and taking responsibility for their own well-being.

6 SEL Teaching Tips

It sounds like a monumental task, but teachers don’t choose education because it’s easy. Approach social-emotional learning the same way you succeed at other subject matter, by working systematically toward your goal.

Start each day with an emotion check. Greet each student warmly as they arrive and invite them to identify how they feel. Early elementary students might refer to a chart with illustrations, and teachers can prompt older children to exchange the usual “happy” or “sad” for synonyms.

Use read-alouds to introduce social-emotional themes. Carla’s Sandwich is available free through Storyline Online and uses descriptive words to teach self-awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. The Orange Shoes is a touching story children of all ages will enjoy as they learn social awareness.

Explicitly teach teamwork skills. Children frequently hear they should listen to others, share, and be thoughtful, but they may not know what that looks like in an educational setting. Negotiation and compromise are skills you can teach. Give students plenty of chances to work with partners for a strong classroom community.

Cultivate self-awareness through mindfulness. Human beings in general stay so busy they often don’t evaluate their own physical and emotional condition. Mindfulness involves pausing to turn thoughts inward and become aware without passing judgment. Prompt students daily to spend a few minutes noticing their breath, thoughts, emotions and the physical sensations they experience.

Let them take a break. Part of developing balance involves knowing when stress is reaching critical levels and having the ability to walk away. Create a place where students can regroup when they feel overwhelmed. Offer headphones that block noise, a journal or drawing pad and a comfortable space to find calm.

Close each day by allowing a few students to reflect on what they experienced during the day. Point out examples of optimism, self-control and good decision-making and encourage students to do the same.