What can America teach England about social and emotional learning?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

During a sabbatical last year, I spent six weeks completing a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) Travelling Fellowship, which gave me the opportunity to visit different schools across America and Sweden to see social and emotional learning (SEL) in practice and witness its impact on school communities.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship was something I could not resist applying for as it offered an opportunity to combine my two main passions: travelling and education.

Every teacher strives for the best academic results for pupils in their care, so they can reach their potential and contribute fully to society. Yet some teachers are concerned that the drive for academic attainment is often at the detriment of a balanced and rounded curriculum, accessible to all, and one which prepares pupils to be socially and emotionally resilient.

Children, for many reasons, including different familial structures, multiple cultural influences, and socio-economic factors, are arriving at school with far more complex and wide-ranging social and emotional needs than ever before. Teaching children how to identify and manage emotions and how to build resilience prepares them to be more able to face challenges at school and in their own lives and also leads to enhanced academic attainment.

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