Future readiness with Social and Emotional Learning
People with strong social and emotional skills are better equipped at resolving conflicts, building a positive relationship, and setting goals. Social and Emotional Learning prepares students to thrive in school, home, and ultimately the workplace.
Sukanya Bhagi is a seasoned psychologist and behavior strategist who believes in helping people to reach their highest potential. She has a robust track record in the field of social-emotional learning, education psychology, ed-tech, content & curriculum development, mental health, and training.
She has developed meaningful learning programs using sound pedagogical methods rolled out in several schools. Most of her work has been in education and health psychology, where she has leaded projects to bring innovative solutions to education products.
One of the biggest challenges faced by the education system is that students aren’t learning the skills that will be required in future jobs. It’s a hard-pressed reality that the job market is constantly changing, and we must prepare students for jobs that have not yet been created and challenges that have not yet arisen. Even if students are excelling academically or learning hard skills, the jobs require much more than that.
This makes me question, ‘Is there anything more we can teach our students to navigate through the challenges and learn skills that matter?’
Think of a time when you struggled in the workplace or fought a major stressor. Simply teaching to test or learning for exams does not help navigate the challenges of everyday life situations. In times of difficulty and adapting to the workplace, it’s not the technical know-how that comes to the rescue but the 21st-century skills that are adaptable and relevant. People with strong social and emotional skills are better equipped at resolving conflicts, building a positive relationship, and setting goals. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) prepares students to thrive in school, home, and ultimately the workplace.
Without these skills, it would be hard for students to succeed in life, even while they may be best at the technical part of their jobs. And these skills can be taught and learned right from preschool, high school to adulthood.
The reality is that the workplace is changing rapidly and the demand for SEL skills has embraced the world as you read this. Critical thinking, Creativity, People Management, Resilience, and Service Orientation are the skills to embrace and change the way people think or learn. The million-dollar question is: Are we teaching our students the skills of tomorrow and not the knowledge of the past? Are we indeed ready to unlearn and reinvent ourselves? Students need more than just good grades and a degree. That is why schools need to move beyond the fundamentals which are reading, writing, and arithmetic, and create know-how and bandwidth to teach 21st-century skills. No gyan, just skills!
Gone are the days when merely possessing information or knowledge was enough. To be effective, students must digitally transform, creatively progress, and be quick in adopting changes. According to The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotion Learning (CASEL), “SEL is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” That is the kind of skill students need to embrace the uncertainty of the workplace and prepare for lifelong learning. Being resilient, emotionally intelligent, empathetic and goal setter are the ways to be future-ready.
Gone are the days when merely possessing information or knowledge was enough. To be effective, students must digitally transform, creatively progress, and be quick in adopting changes.
Benefits of SEL…
In a report called ‘Ready to Lead’, CASEL states that SEL skills not only improve academic skills in school by an average of 11%, but the lack of SEL skills correlates with student’s poor health, future unemployment, and relationship problems. There were also correlations between SEL skills and future success and happiness. This means that teaching SEL skills in school will lead to better-prepared students who share their creative ideas, ask questions, develop positive relationships, and successfully transition from one phase to another. As Frederick Douglass said, ‘it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’ And it indeed is! What lies ahead…
Given the progressive and holistic approach of National Education Policy 2020, it may just be a matter of time before SEL is widely adopted. Developing an emphasis on learning age-relevant skills at different ages under 5+3+3+4 format, the introduction of real-life skills, less of bookish knowledge and more of problem-solving, vocation of choice, and revamping traditional report cards into a comprehensive report based on skills will lead to a more supportive space for students. In this process, measures of SEL for students will be reemphasized and revamped.
SEL is an important part of preparing students of today for the future of tomorrow. In whatever way possible, schools and society should strive for deliberate and continuous efforts to prepare for the radically altered nature of work and life.
SEL is an important part of preparing students of today for the future of tomorrow. In whatever way possible, schools and society should strive for deliberate and continuous efforts to prepare for the radically altered nature of work and life. Last but not the least, change won’t wait for us. No matter how we define future or success, we need to be proactive in up-skilling and evolve with the fast-paced connected world. And in this process, we can forge an evolved and prepared workplace that collaborates to build a better world.