Smart Hearts: Social and Emotional Learning Overview


>>Male Newscaster: The video was
posted on MySpace by [inaudible]. This assault occurred in
North Babylon, New York. The victim apparently
just twelve years old. Her attackers are fourteen
year old ninth graders…>>Male caller: A student with a
gun at the [inaudible] Academy.>>Female 911 Operator: Okay,
where’s the student at?>>Female Newscaster:
He was picked on, bullied and that may have
been part of what pushed him to the school shooting here.>>Narrator: While schools
across the country grapple with the behavior problems
of their troubled students, thousands of individuals are stepping up to help meet those students’
social and emotional needs.>>Michael: And no matter
what we teach your brains, love is more important
than knowledge.>>Narrator: One of them is
Michael Pritchard, a comedian and former probation officer
who tours the country listening to the hearts of young people.>>Michael: How many of you know
a boy or girl here at school who gets picked on and
left out and never included and laughed at al the time? Raise your hands high, high. Look around the room please. Hands down.>>Marilyn: At one point,
Michael asks kids to come forward and share how they’ve been hurt,
or maybe to apologize to others, and when he asks them to do that, I
thought, “They’re not gonna do this. I mean, in front of all these kids,
they’re not gonna come forward.” I have to tell you, I was amazed at
how free they were to come forward and really share their experience.>>Boy: When I first moved here a year
ago, and no one really wanted to play with me, and all the fifth
graders called me names.>>Michael: What was it
doing to your heart?>>Boy: It just made
me feel really bad.>>Michael: We get sick if we
try to hold all that pain in. And then the unaddressed grief turns
to anger, and the anger to rage, and it has two directions,
out to the community, or inwards towards the self,
and self destructiveness.>>Girl: My main thing that’s gotten
me through all this is empathy. When I was being bullied, I tried
to feel how they were feeling, and that’s why there
were bullying me.>>Marilyn: Creating an environment
in which kids feel comfortable, in which they are productive, in which they treated one another
well, is not a one shot thing. So our responsibility as
adults that work with kids is to reiterate that lesson. And in my experience, it
takes three to five years to really change a school culture
and it’s a learning process.>>Teacher: What people say to us and how other people treat us kinda
shapes what we think about ourselves. And I wanna share with you a story. One day, Maria woke up–>>Narrator: With curriculum
material from programs like Resolving Conflict Creatively, students can learn social
emotional skills in any classroom.>>Teacher: And so her sister
came into the room and said, “Are you gonna wear those
old rags to school?”>>Linda: We are talking about a whole
new vision of education that says that educating the heart is as
important as educating the mind. And so it’s about equipping
young people with the kinds of skills they need to both
identify and manage their emotions, to communicate those
emotions effectively and to resolve conflict
non violently.>>Teacher: So that was Maria’s day. How do you think Maria’s feeling now,
if this is what’s left of her heart?>>Daniel: Emotional intelligence, which refers to how you handle your
own feelings, how well you empathize and get along with other people
is just a key human skill but it also turns out that
kids who are better able to manage their emotions,
for example, actually can pay attention better, can take in information
better, can remember better. In other words, it
helps you learn better.>>Student: Let’s say if me
and Gabriela had a problem, then we’re gonna go inside the peace
corner and express our feelings with a peace helper, and I think
everybody knows what a peace helper is.>>Narrator: At PS twenty-four
in Brooklyn, students learn to take an active role in
solving classroom disputes.>>Student: So you had a book first,
and a girl snatched it from you?>>Yeah.>>How do you feel?>>I feel mad.>>Alexus: I like doing it,
’cause I like helping other kids and it’s very fun for me
because I get to have fun and then be serious at the same time.>>Do you need my help?>>Yeah.>>What happened?>>Alexus: When I do stuff like the
mini lesson, I have to stay focused, and especially when I’m
working like with first graders or kindergarten [inaudible].>>When the peace helpers were
helping solve the conflict, what did you see the
peace helpers do?>>I’m still learning, because if
I go into sixth grade next year, I need to learn how
to control my anger, ’cause I have a serious
temper problem.>>Teacher: Running game or having
game is pressuring somebody, ’cause you trying to
slick ’em, right?>>Narrator: In nineteen
ninety, New Haven, Connecticut pioneered a
comprehensive, district wide approach to teaching social emotional skills.>>Teacher: Focus in on
your dot, nothing else. Deep breaths.>>Karol: In our middle
schools and high schools, the social development curriculum
is taught as a separate class. A student might go to
English first period and social development second
period and chemistry third period. So the student is taking the
skills that he or she is learning in that second period
social development class and using those skills wherever
else in his or her life is needed.>>Teacher: One possible solution
is saying no or walking away. Is that real?>>Karol: Just like you take the
reading skills that you learn in fourth period class and
apply them throughout your life, it doesn’t matter if other people in your life have the same
reading skills or not. You have the skills.>>If you’ve been hurt by someone
saying or doing something mean or thoughtless, move into the circle.>>Narrator: The success of New Haven’s efforts inspired other
districts, like Anchorage, Alaska, to take on ambitious programs.>>Falling.>>Fall away.>>Narrator: This daylong series
of games, trust exercises and truth telling sessions,
called a Change of Heart, is designed to forge a caring
community from the diverse group of twenty-four hundred students and
staff at East Anchorage High School.>>Yes, I trust you guys.>>What’s your name?>>Narrator: It’s just
part of a concerted effort to address the social and
emotional needs of every student in the district, an effort
that began with schools in turmoil just a few years ago.>>Alivia: You know, you hear those
horror stories about like, you know, like thugs showing up at
school, like you having to look behind your shoulder,
and that’s how it was. There was a lockdown at lunch.>>Carol: Alaska, unfortunately,
has the highest rate of domestic violence,
sexual and child abuse, in the nation per capita. And so a lot of our kids, they’re
watching violence in their homes. Sometimes they’re the ones
being attacked and abused, and for them to be able to come
into school, which is frankly, for many of them, their safe haven,
and to automatically switch that off and say, “Oh yes, I’m
gonna really focus on algebra,” it isn’t even realistic. And so we’ve got a lot of young
people in very great distress.>>Narrator: After nearly a
decade of studying best practices from around the country, the
district adopted comprehensive social and emotional standards,
with concrete benchmarks for appropriate behavior
at every grade level. They designed classes
to teach specific skills and developed guidelines
for assessment.>>Vickie: I’m a curriculum
coordinator, so I am seen in the same office as the language arts
coordinator the math coordinator, the health coordinator, et cetera
to show just visually, politically, everything else, that
we are gonna value this like we value any of
our other curricula. A lot of my job is to look at the
already adopted curriculum and say, “Okay, here’s a place where, if I
was teaching this reading lesson, I could also hit this social
emotional learning center at the same time.”>>Teacher: “Two roads
diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all
the difference.” What do you think he’s saying there?>>Student: I think that he took the
one that not everybody was doing, like maybe everybody was doing
a different thing and he thought that it was wrong, so he did the
other thing, and maybe he was right?>>Teacher: Doesn’t even
have to be right or wrong. Just follow your heart,
be true to yourself.>>Student: So Mike has eight dollars. Is this Mike?>>Narrator: In this
fifth grade math glass, solving problems is
a social activity.>>Student: Mike started with eight. Kelly had twice as much
as Mike, and Joe had half as much as Kelly, which is–>>Chris: Every teacher out there has
probably said at some point in time, “Turn to your neighbor
and talk about this idea. Look at your teammates
and talk about this idea.”>>Student: Why did you
do those shapes there?>>Student: ‘Cause it looked cool.>>Chris: And really watch if
they are talking about the topic that you’ve asked them to talk
about, if they’re actually listening to each other, and using that
language and those social skills. Then all of a sudden,
you have an environment where thirty kids are all
learning at the same time.>>Teacher: Today Lucia intentionally
bumps into Jackson in the lunch room and makes him spill his food.>>Narrator: The aggressors, victims
and bystanders, or AVB curriculum, has been adopted by all of the
middle schools in the district.>>Teacher: What are some of the
cool headed thoughts he could have?>>Student: He might
think that she likes him and that’s why she’s
being so mean to him.>>Teacher: Exactly. I hate to say it, but
sometimes at middle school, kids do some really weird
things to the kids they like.>>Teacher: Today you’re going
to be interviewing one person, and that one person is also
going to be interviewing you.>>Narrator: Freshman English teacher
Trudy Keller incorporates social emotional learning standards
in her daily lessons.>>Trudy: “Scrutinize” is a word
that’ll be on your next quiz. I want you to really
scrutinize them and think about your impressions
beyond just what they say.>>One of the students wrote about
his partner that he interviewed because this student’s
parent was a drug addict, and actually caused a great
deal of turmoil in the family, and was actually a student
that he had sort of looked down on, I think, before. And then he wrote, “I have
a great deal of respect for what this student
has been through.”>>Student: Do you have a
job or what’s your home– ?>>Student: Well, I
have a disabled brother and I usually take
care of him and stuff.>>Trudy: I just think that
you need to be in touch with their feelings, their emotions. When I know what’s going on, and I
acknowledge that and we deal with it, then we can get on to
the job of learning.>>Teacher: Two, three.>>All: [singing] The world is
full of all kinds of people. Inside our blood flows the same.>>Michael: We’re all under the
gun to improve our test results, the academics, but I’ll tell you
what, it’s a whole lot more fun to start focusing on
that connection with kids and helping people feel
good about where they are. The other will follow. Our teachers, I think,
are much happier. They like their kids.>>Pat: Good job, kiddo, excellent. Practice being cool
headed this weekend.>>Corey: Since my freshman
year, the amount of suspensions that have happened at East
has gone down dramatically. The amount of fights has
gone down dramatically. East as a whole, it’s so
much better than before.>>The goal is to hit the ball
in the air as many times–>>Vickie: The advantage of spending
time doing this is the payoff in academics. There’s research out now
that shows that kids involved in intentional social emotional
learning programs like we’re trying to do right here scored on
average ten percent higher on their standardized tests. So what are we giving up? We’re giving up, you
know, higher referrals. We’re giving up violence
in our schools. What are we getting? Kids who come to school because
they wanna come to school, and kids who know how to act
when they get into the schools, and hopefully, kids who
will go into their futures with a better chance at success.>>Michael: How should
we treat each other?>>Boy: Very well, because if
we treat each other really bad, we won’t like get along
or be friends, or like be part of one big family.>>Michael: You know what, you go home
and you tell your mom– look at me. You have [speaking Spanish.]>>Boy: [speaking Spanish].>>Michael: I love you. All right, [speaking Spanish].>>Narrator: For more
information on what works in public education,
go to Edutopia.org

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