Social-emotional learning is a must to reduce bullying!
Category : Social-emotional
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I have heard it said too many times… that social and emotional learning shouldn’t be taught at school because thats a job for parents.

Good in theory, but in reality, there are many children who lack supportive, loving and safe home environments that promote good values.
Instead these children often experience an ugly side of life that can have a devastating effect on their character and development.

Research shows that children naturally and almost unconsciously learn by following examples set by others, and those living in homes lacking
warmth, caring, love and parental involvement, are likely to imitate the negative behaviour they learn to consider normal.

Regardless of their situation, schools expect all children to act with respect, caring and kindness when interacting with their teachers
and peers, and when their behaviour is deemed anti-social or nasty, they may be labeled a bully.

Little tolerance or empathy is given to bullies. Concerned, angry parents usually find themselves overcome by emotion,
unable to see beyond the pain inflicted on their child to consider the background or circumstances of the offender as a possible
cause of their behaviour. Their mission is to protect their child and stop the bullying, and they often apply pressure on schools
to reprimand offending children, failing to see the ineffectiveness of punishing those who may not know any better.

For schools to be successful in addressing exclusive or bullying behaviour, they must acknowledge that a lack of character education
within the home affects children’s emotional competency. It’s not enough to simply tell children not to bully, point out the consequences
or suspend them from school, children must be taught how to be kind, considerate and accepting of others.

Though they were originally established as academic learning institutions, it’s become clear that schools must now adopt a whole child
approach by including social and emotional learning (SEL) on an ongoing basis to address social, emotional and mental health issues, and
create safe and supportive environments for all children.

KidsMatter is an Australian government funded mental health and wellbeing framework for primary schools. Their extensive research into SEL
has tagged it as a key strategy for schools in their efforts to reduce bullying and improve caring, respect and responsibility.

Another advocate for SEL in schools, Maurice Elias, a Professor at Rutgers University Psychology Department says we need to be prepared
to teach kindness, because it can be delayed due to maltreatment early in life. It can be smothered under the weight of poverty, and it can
be derailed by victimization later in life.

As a citizen, grandparent, father, and professional, it is clear to me that the mission of schools must include teaching kindness.
Without it, communities, families, schools, and classrooms become places of incivility where lasting learning is unlikely to take place.
It belongs in every home, school, neighborhood, and society.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) says SEL can have a positive impact on school climate and promotes a host
of academic, social, and emotional benefits for students such as:

· Better academic performance: achievement scores an average of 11 percentile points higher than students who did not receive SEL instruction;

· Improved attitudes and behaviors: greater motivation to learn, deeper commitment to school, increased time devoted to schoolwork, and better
  classroom behavior;

· Fewer negative behaviors: decreased disruptive class behavior, noncompliance, aggression, delinquent acts, and disciplinary referrals; and

· Reduced emotional distress: fewer reports of student depression, anxiety, stress, and social withdrawal.


Its encouraging seeing that there is a growing awareness among educators and policymakers about the importance of social and emotional
development in children, and that many are prepared to take a modern approach to nurture well-rounded and society ready children who care
for others.