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Social and emotional learning (SEL) initiatives can encompass different strategies at every school or school district, and educational approaches to SEL may not look the same from classroom to classroom. As school districts across the country are integrating SEL into the curriculum, the daily educational environment for children has evolved from a primarily intellectual-based learning approach to emotional growth exercises as well.
For many of us, one of the most traumatic experiences of our lives was puberty. This is hardly an exaggeration—our bodies are experiencing significant changes and our thoughts are undergoing transformation as well, all while the frontal lobe of the brain is developing and forming our impulses for emotional control.
We’re in the midst of a historical first. The first generation of children raised entirely on smartphones, the iGeneration, is facing a skyrocketing mental illness rate, and studies suggest that too much screen time is to blame. In fact, suicide in teenage girls is the highest that it’s been in over 40 years. What can we do to protect our children?
After decades, social and emotional learning (SEL) is finally getting the attention it deserves from parents and teachers who recognize that a child’s emotional health is as important as his physical health. Unfortunately, getting SEL programs into school has proven difficult, as school boards and directors resist adding yet another program to underfunded schools.
In the past, academic achievement was often linked to cognitive intelligence, or IQ. Recently, as more research is published exploring achievement gaps in education, studies show that emotional intelligence—or EQ—also significantly impacts educational achievement.
Depression and anxiety are significant mental health concerns for children. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), more than a quarter of teens (ages 13-18) suffer from anxiety disorders and almost 6 percent battle with a “severe form” of the disorder. The NIMH also reports that “in 2015, an estimated 3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.”
Illicit drug use in schools is a prevalent problem affecting children and teens. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, more than 14 percent of high school seniors and nearly 10 percent of sophomores fall prey to the allure of getting high.
Educating a child means more than just encouraging their intellect. While a child’s intellect—and IQ—will aid them throughout their school years, their emotional intelligence—or EQ—aids them both in school and beyond, as it affects how they develop and maintain personal and social relationships.
The book series turned popular Netflix drama “Thirteen Reasons Why” thrust the topic of teenage suicide back in the top issues plaguing the minds and hearts of school administrators and parents. Not only did the series propel suicide back into the conversation, it also brought attention to the rising number of teens contemplating—and committing—suicide.