1st Part – 19th June 2021 – What is Social-Emotional Learning? Why is it so important?
Ms. Lamia Bagasrawala -Practicing psychotherapist, mental health expert, and Art-based therapy practitioner [ a practicing psychotherapist and queer affirmative counselor. She is the Project Coordinator for SIMHA. She is a visiting faculty member at the Department of Psychology at SNDT University, Mumbai, and Jyoti Dalal School of Liberal Arts at NMIMS University, Mumbai. She is also on the Board of Studies (Psychology) at Jai Hind College, Mumbai, and NMIMS University, Mumbai. She has completed her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from TISS, Mumbai.]
Mr. Akshay Chooramani –Advisor to Chairperson DCPCR, Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, running a helpline to register grievances dealing with children at risk.
Host Ms. Jayshree Iyer
Jayshree briefed the guests about the importance of mental health and wellbeing of students during the current pandemic times, especially those who do not have access to education making them vulnerable to certain undesirable forces like child marriages, sexual abuse and child trafficking. The responses to polls taken regarding the challenges faced in the past one year were varied though majorly loneliness, insecurity, anxiety, and stress seemed to be the most frequent.
Mr. Akshay Chooramani informed about the need to set up the helpline to reach out to children below 18 years who may have lost their caregivers making them the most vulnerable part of society. He talked about their increasing need for trained people to extract complete information from the victims and the urgency to be prepared before the pandemic’s next wave hits. Delving upon the realistic and acceptable ways of introducing SEL among the children, he mentioned the happiness curriculum in the classrooms as being practiced in Delhi Government Schools where they teach about mindfulness.
Lamia elaborated on the meaning of Social Emotional Learning [SEL], sensitizing everyone presents through her thought-provoking polling questions. She referred to ways to enhance SEL by Daniel Goleman who authored the book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Lamia’s ability to dissect the anatomy of each relevant term was tremendous as the audience was completely engaged throughout, responding to her questions and reflecting upon them simultaneously. She stressed on SEL being a ‘continuous process’ and the role of SEL in building resilience. She went on to introduce the Harvard model of fostering resilience and promoting well-being during the COVID 19 pandemic [sourced from Centre on the developing child, Harvard University] as a three-step solution that includes reducing the impact of the stress factors, boosting the support system, and to strengthening the Social Emotional. She drew everyone’s attention to the alarming facts of high suicide rates among youngsters during pandemic times and referred to Adam Grant’s article in New York Times [There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing] on ‘languishing with ill mental health’ which can be taken to ‘flourishing’ through the development of these social emotional skills. She highlighted what SEL can do for children and adults, bringing out the big picture of the education system that fulfills the Sustainable Development Goals of facilitating the achievement of education equity and better mental health outcomes. Supporting her arguments with research studies [sourced from Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)], she concluded that SEL does not just have an impact on making students better well-adjusted individuals but also as better employees to further national development.
Mrs. Sushma Sardana
Delhi Public School, RK Puram, New Delhi
Coordinator for Senior Classes
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