Ideas for Establishing a Safe, Inclusive Learning Community
Across the United States, students are returning to school amidst another nationwide tragedy. And once again, teachers are faced with the challenge of establishing a positive, safe, and reflective classroom in the wake of horrific violence. The staff of Facing History and Ourselves has produced the Teaching Idea “Teaching in the Wake of Violence” to help educators address recent attacks in a manner that focuses on emotional processing (heart before head) while building community resilience. Facing History is also providing teachers with a Back-to-School Toolkit to help them establish a safe and inclusive classroom culture. Lessons in the one-week unit ask students to consider how, together, they can create an open, supportive, and reflective learning community.
In the last few years, social and emotional learning (SEL)
has increasingly become one of the most prevalent topics in education. Educators
around the world are incorporating SEL into their classrooms and, according to
the article “Reflecting
on Social Emotional Learning: A Critical Perspective on Trends in the United
States” by Dianne M. Hoffman, there are several benefits of teaching SEL
that make it an important piece of the curriculum puzzle.
The Ecological Approaches to Social Emotional Learning laboratory (EASEL) at Harvard University is testing the use of flexible, bite-sized lessons to teach social and emotional learning. The “kernels” are designed to be adaptable to students’ interests and needs.
A project of Stand with Children, the Middle School Kindness Challenge is an easy and free way to make kindness commonplace and improve school climate and student learning in the critical middle school years.