Guest Blogger - Nicole Miller
Topics: social-emotional learning
There is a small, but growing body of research that is beginning to show that teachers are uniquely poised to help students develop prosocial (positive) behaviors. Teaching kindness in the classroom setting can redirect inappropriate and unkind behaviors. Direct, unkind actions towards other children can be seen in children as young as three, including exclusionary behavior. Children may have seen these behaviors modeled in the home or in other settings, and they can bring them into the school experience. At three, these actions range from a child putting his hands over his ears to show, “I’m not listening to you” to pushing or hitting.
If students are not stopped and taught a prosocial behavior in the moment one of these actions occurs, a pattern of aggression can continue. This is why at East Woods we believe teaching prosocial behaviors begins with our youngest students and continues through Lower and Upper School.
To put it plainly, we teach kindness because we model kindness.
At East Woods School, we have just completed our first round of parent conferences for the academic year. Our teachers talked with parents about each student’s academic progress, of course, but in most cases, also discussed social-emotional learning and development.
Gone are the days of treating students as disembodied brains. All the recent brain research of the last fifteen years has underscored the importance of emotional and social connection in promoting learning.