How can the leader create a school culture for SEL to thrive?

A school leadership and the self-motivated faculty with the value of global citizenship that has the child at the center produces individuals who become confident even before they leave the school. For social-emotional learning to become a reality in the classroom, it is the teachers who need to believe in it first; intervention, collaboration, and communication among themselves by devising classroom strategies, making it consciously part of each lesson plan. With these ideas projected by Mr. Roshan Gandhi, CEO of City Montessori School, Lucknow, in the fortnightly session anchored this time by the Executive Director and Founder- Adhyayan Quality Education Services, Ms. Kavita Anand herself, the ball was set rolling with a few pertinent questions from the audience too.

Kavita took a different route from here as some of the students from middle and senior classes from the same school were invited as panelists to express their take on SEL being done by their school. With her apt questioning, Kavita extracted the information and opinions of these students representing the other side of the screen during the last 16 months of online learning. What one could gather from this whole interaction was that peer learning and the introduction of group activities in the classroom are essential to foster SEL in the classroom. The students get bored if the educators are only involved in monologues and the completion of the curriculum. Many students may not be in a healthy and happy state of mind because of loneliness, tragedies in the family or for other reasons. Empathetic behavior by teachers helps in building an emotional connection with their students. The involvement of parents is an essential component to foster SEL for them. The children could very clearly spell out that hobby classes, literary, cultural, and other interesting activities made them feel happy and involved.

The session was introduced and summarized by Ms. Jayshree Iyer who sent out the messages to school leaders like reducing content to make space for SEL and constant capacity building of the teachers to engage the students by integrating SEL in every curricular and extra-curricular activity meaningfully.  

A befitting conclusion to a series that leaves some food for thought for those who want to understand, what it would take to ensure that our children grow as happy and well-adjusted learners!

 Click here to watch the full session

What does it look like in the classroom ? How does the teacher understand the whole child ?

Time: 4:30pm-6:00pm
Esteemed Panelists 
Mr. Sankalp Khanna 
Ms. Priya Patil

It was an insightful session on ‘How SEL looks like inside classroom’,  hosted by Jayshree Iyer, who herself is an experienced educator with her rich educational background aptly introduced, conducted, and summarized the ideas presented by two esteemed Panelists, Priya Patil and Sankalp Khanna. Though they come from schools of diverse backgrounds, yet they echoed the same concerns and solutions to make the classroom a safe, non-judgemental learning space through incorporating SEL in the subject teaching as well as giving separate space in the school timetable where the teacher’s role is that of a facilitator. A structured curriculum, complete with objectives and outcomes was designed along with constant support in the form of resources and capacity-building programs. These SEL sessions are important for all stakeholders, students, teachers as well as leaders under all circumstances, more so during pandemic times when people need a sense of belongingness and a feeling of being cared for. If on one hand, Sankalp supported his ideas through research data then Priya took to a more emotional tone of helping everyone feel confident to share their feelings with others. She admitted that during activities conducted during Jeevan Shikshan- an ideal name given to her SEL program-she would get involved in the varied expressions of children in Marathi medium, Pune Municipal Corporation school. 

Sankalp advocated the idea of using software like mood meters to judge the energy levels in the classroom and flexibly modify the pedagogy according to it. He exemplified his well-structured curricular design as per his training at Heritage Xperiential School and at Mirambika as an educator and coordinator of SEL. Priya on the other hand started her journey as a facilitator from being ‘clueless’ as where to begin to designing the whole program through her interactions with various stakeholders and ultimately designing the curriculum which is meant to be a journey of discovery of self-worth for others and it became a journey of self-discovery for herself and other teachers.

The whole time, the waves of ideas kept flowing and so were questions from the guests. There seemed to be a major concern for the fate of SEL during online classes but all doubts were put to rest by the assurance that once a relationship of trust is built by interweaving SEL activities through subject teaching, the medium of these classes would not matter. Overall, it was an extremely engaging session and more such interactions are desired in the future- pandemic or no pandemic.

Click here to watch the full session.

Adhyayan #COP: The 3 Part Webinar Series of Social Emotional Learning

1st Part – 19th June 2021 – What is Social-Emotional Learning? Why is it so important? 

Esteemed Panelists 

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 Iye

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