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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Learning builds resilience

It's a mistake to put "social-emotional learning" ahead of academic learning, writes Eva Moskowitz, who created the high-performing Success Academy charter network. Teaching students to do challenging academic work builds resilience, which is linked with mental health.

Even as educational leaders weigh strategies for addressing this achievement crisis, we also hear opinions that it is “impossible to ask kids to tackle difficult academic challenges” without first attending to their underlying emotional needs — a take that has been commonplace throughout the pandemic. “For many students, their mental and emotional health needs to be stabilized in order for learning to take place,” said one Pennsylvania teacher last year, reflecting this sentiment.

Children in crisis need mental-health services, writes Moskowitz. But most students will be healthier and happier, and less prone to depression and anxiety, if they learn to persist in the face of difficulties and uncertainties. "Every class, every lesson, and every homework assignment" can be a mini-exercise in building resilience," she writes.

When scholars experience how errors in their own or peers’ work can give everyone greater clarity and understanding, they see that small failures can be a source of valuable information and a springboard for growth. As this insight takes hold, they become increasingly courageous about grappling with new and difficult concepts and problems — and, critically, they become willing and able to share when they need help.

When Success graduates go on to college and life, they're prepared to face challenges with courage and confidence, Moskowitz writes.

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2 comentários

20 de set. de 2022

Oh, Joanne, you broke a lot of hearts with this post--but not mine. I agree with it completely.

On a related note, I've said for decades: self-esteem is the result of achievement, not the cause of it.


19 de set. de 2022

This reminds me of the failings of the "workshop" model of education. For SEL to be truly effective, it has to be baked into the daily routine classroom experience... as it has been for decades. My principal is big on mindfulness and wants us doing some sort of meditative or community activity at the beginning of each class to focus students. I'd rather just give them an open-note starter quiz everyday... it works a lot better.

Explicit lessons on SEL create time-limited, unauthentic environments that don't promote generalized learning.

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