While it is important that people focus on children’s academic achievements, society should also pay attention to the younger generation’s mental health and emotional abilities. Social-emotional learning (SEL) can be crucial in human relations and provide children with skills helpful in navigating through difficult situations in life. Jill Smith’s discussion on SEL can guide one’s mind towards a deeper understanding of what all communities should teach children.
Firstly, to illustrate associations with SEL, one can add to Jill Smith’s list of adjectives words such as purposefulness and empathy. SEL is meant to assist children in managing their emotions, expressing compassion, pursuing goals, and participating in interpersonal relationships (Lemberger‐Truelove et al., 2018). Children are exploring the world at all times, and they often need help in learning how to interact with others. As Jill Smith debates on people wishing to appear as knowing what they are doing, one can ask how adults can promote SEL for children if grown-ups do not recognize that they too may need SEL. Lemberger‐Truelove et al. (2018) suggest that SEL interventions are oriented towards supporting children but also focus on how practitioners can aid in the process. Smith’s reflection on the availability of SEL strategies for children leads to considering that society needs to comprehend the necessity of SEL for each child and can begin by exploring the website suggested by Smith.
Following that, Smith claims that the main idea of SEL is for children to obtain tools and explanations for their emotions, which should be completed at a young age to prepare them for challenging times. Research indicates that Smith’s understanding is correct, as SEL can increase multiple social-emotional skills, behavior, and academic performance (Lemberger‐Truelove et al., 2018). However, Lemberger‐Truelove et al. (2018) state that most research on SEL is concentrated on older children and adolescents. Therefore, Lemberger‐Truelove et al. (2018) conducted a study involving 3- and 4-years old children from an economically disadvantaged area and determined some significant treatment effects.
After eight weeks, the participants did not show improvements in peer interaction and self-regulated attention but had advanced task orientation and orientation to experience outcomes (Lemberger‐Truelove et al., 2018). In particular, the children tested better on engagement, self-reliance, curiosity, and openness and exhibited more sustained kindness in their language and behavior on days of being exposed to SEL (Lemberger‐Truelove et al., 2018). The study demonstrates SEL’s positive effects on young children and suggests that Smith’s discussion reveals a well understanding of the importance of SEL.
Finally, Smith debates mindfulness and its relation to SEL and proposes that they can help destress. In the noted above study, Lemberger‐Truelove et al. (2018) incorporated SEL and mindfulness-based interventions (MBI), providing information on practices to support younger children. Mindfulness practices integrated into SEL curricula can enhance learning opportunities (Lemberger‐Truelove et al., 2018). Moreover, Lemberger‐Truelove et al. (2018) mention another study that showed greater cognitive flexibility, better grades, and higher social competence in children after MBI. While Smith reflects on mindfulness, the research presents that SEL combined with MBI can benefit child development.
To summarize, Jill Smith’s discussion on social-emotional learning indicates that she understands its essence, which corresponds with recent studies. As she exhibits interest in knowing more about SEL tools and guidelines, Smith should research more academic articles about evidence-based SEL programs. Overall, practitioners in education need to spread awareness on SEL and MBI among society to support children in learning more about themselves and the world.
Lemberger‐Truelove, M. E., Carbonneau, K. J., Atencio, D. J., Zieher, A. K., & Palacios, A. F. (2018). Self‐regulatory growth effects for young children participating in a combined social and emotional learning and mindfulness‐based intervention. Journal of Counseling & Development, 96(3), 289-302. Web.