Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the newest edu-fad, writes Katharine Beals on Out in Left Field. Believers say devoting time to SEL activities will raise academic achievement.
“Disruptive, distracting behavior imposes a tremendous drain on teaching/learning — for perpetrators and victims alike,” she writes. But, she wonders if SEL activities make sense for all students — or just those who are unable to behave properly in class.
She proposes splitting teaching and classroom management into two jobs with “highly qualified teachers up front, and highly qualified classroom managers in back.” Class sizes would be increased to pay for the extra adults.
In her scheme, the classroom manager would be able to remove disruptive students, temporarily or for the long term. The money that would have been spent on SEL instruction for the entire student body” would be spent to provide “special psychiatric and academic services for disruptive students.”
Can teachers develop students’ social-emotional strengths while teaching academics? Or will SEL inevitably be an add-on that competes with academics for time?
Teachers, what do you think?