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Benefits of Social-Emotional Learning

gtchat 04042017 SEL


“We know from human history and the latest learning science that success comes from the combination of academic knowledge and the ability to work with others. We need public education to reflect this.” ~ Walter Isaacson, The Aspen Institute

Social-emotional learning has come to be acknowledged as an intricate part of academic success and personal well-being. It is how we acquire and effectively apply knowledge, attitudes and skills to understand and manage emotions. Social-emotional learning helps us set and achieve positive goals; feel and show empathy; establish and maintain positive relationships; and make responsible decisions.

Gifted students are constantly balancing academic endeavors with intense feelings and  greatly benefit from social-emotional learning. They often feel like they don’t “fit in”; and may be the subject of bullying. Asynchronous development can affect social-emotional aspects of gifted student’s life; they need social-emotional learning for its inherent coping skills.

Goals for social-emotional learning should consider acquiring skills that foster self-control and problem-solving; tools needed for success in life. Many schools acknowledge the benefits of social-emotional learning for academic achievement.

Assessing social-emotional learning can include asking students to identify facial expressions to measure social awareness. Teachers can track how long students will persevere through frustrating tasks as a measure of self-control. However, assessing information on friendships may be different for gifted students; different criteria should be used.

What are some inherent problems with using pre-packaged Social-emotional Learning Programs for gifted students? They include: progress is rigid; students are forced to pair or team with non-intellectual peers; and don’t meet the unique needs of gifted students or their asynchronous development. They accentuate differences felt by gifted kids and force them to comply with rules they may not agree with. (Casper)

Social-emotional learning is not a single program or teaching method. It involves coordinated strategies across classrooms, schools, homes, and communities. It is competencies and contexts for teaching them which should reflect the overall educational environment.

Check out the links below as we have added many additional ones since the chat. A transcript of this chat may be found on our Storify page.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 12.00 NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:


Online Tool Attaches Hard Numbers to Social-Emotional Skill-Building

Want Social-Emotional Learning to Work? The Careful Balance of Tech and Relationships

Should Emotions Be Taught in Schools?

Danger in a Can: Why Canned SEL Skill Programs in Schools Can Harm Gifted Ss More Than Help

What Are the 21st-Century Skills Every Student Needs?

Why Social and Emotional Learning Is Essential for Students

How to be More Empathetic (Video)

SEL Part of NYC Charter’s Foundation

Assessing Social Emotional Skills Can Be Fuzzy Work

Chicago School Revamps Model to Focus on Personalized SEL

Building Our Emotional Intelligence Future: How Development of Affective Computing and Artificial EI Transform Relationship with Technology

Gifted children: Emotionally immature or emotionally intense?

Encouraging Emotional Intelligence

Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?

Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence and Gifted Children

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Feeling it all: Dabrowski’s Psychomotor Overexcitability

Teach Empathy with Literature

Behavior Expectations and How to Teach Them

Embedding Social Emotional Learning Across the Curriculum

Rethinking How Students Succeed

How 2 Minutes of SEL Can Change the Tone for the Day

Building Habits of Success and Measuring What Matters

National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning (pdf)

Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (Infographic)

Summit Olympus is Placing Learning in Students’ Hands (Podcast)

Blended, Project-Based and Social Emotional Learning at Thrive Public Schools

Thrive Public Schools: Social Emotional Learning

12 SEL Organizations Making a Difference

Teaching Children to be Emotionally Intelligent

For Every $1 Spent on SEL, There’s an $11 Return

Social Emotional Learning in Elementary School (pdf)

Principles for Kindness: How to Instill Empathy in the Classroom

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Can and Should Empathy Be Taught in Schools?

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In “Human Empathy through the Lens of Social Neuroscience”, Jean Decety and Claus Lamm define empathy as, “the ability to experience and understand what others feel without confusion between oneself and others.” They go on to explain, “Knowing what someone else is feeling plays a fundamental role in interpersonal interactions.”

Although there was not a consensus on whether or not empathy could be taught, the benefits of exposing students to the idea of empathy were seen as a move in the right direction. It was asserted that modeling empathy works best for some, but others agreed that it was a skill susceptible to training &enhancement programs; such as direct narratives and class discussions.

Teaching empathy can benefit the overall school climate and gifted students in particular. Infusing the school climate with empathetic behavior has a residual effect on co-workers and staff.

What are some ways teachers can model empathetic behavior for their students? Teachers should treat each student with respect and expect the same in return. They can model empathy by getting to know their students and practicing empathetic listening.  One way teachers can create a caring atmosphere in their classrooms is by adding ‘empathy leader’ to student ‘jobs’. Another way in the early years would be to include examples of empathetic activities such as having young students share what they like about each other.

Finally, we looked at ways parents could extend the learning. First, they need to address their child’s own emotional needs and help them deal with negative emotions at home. Parents should seek opportunities to model empathetic behavior in everyday life such as using times of discomfort as opportunities to understand empathy; for instance, talking about a distressing news story. They should provide opportunities for kids to help others without a material reward … foster sense of doing the right thing. A full transcript of this week’s chat may be found on Storify.

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:



Compassion & Empathy: School Climate Essentials

Teaching Empathy: Are We Teaching Content or Students? from Edutopia

Building a Caring Classroom Culture: An Action Plan

Creating More Compassionate Classrooms from Edutopia

Building Social & Emotional Skills in Elementary Students: Empathy from Edutopia

Roots of Empathy

Teaching Empathy: Evidence-Based Tips for Fostering Empathy in Children

The Children We Mean to Raise: The Real Messages Adults Are Sending About Values (pdf)

How Parents Can Cultivate Empathy in Children (pdf)

Developing Empathy

Empathy Teacher’s Guide Grades 3 – 5

Tips on Helping Your Child Develop Empathy

Unleashing Empathy: How Teachers Transform Classrooms with Emotional Learning 

Emotional Intelligence Needs a Moral Rudder

Teaching Empathy to At-Risk Kids

13 Top Games That Teach Empathy

Building Community in the Classroom Page from Cybraryman

Rethinking How Students Succeed

Elevating Empathy on Pinterest

Empathy: The 21st Century Skill

4 Unexpected (& Science-Backed) Ways to Develop Empathy

Does Literature Make You Empathic?

The Development of Empathy An Essential Life Skill!

Nurturing a Kinder, Gentler Child With Empathy

The Relationship Between Emotional-State Language and Emotion Understanding: A study with School-age Children (pdf) by Veronica Ornaghi and Ilaria Grazzani

Human Empathy Through the Lens of Social Neuroscience (pdf) by Jean Decety* and Claus Lamm

Empathy: Why It’s Important, Why We Should Nurture It in Our Kids

Start Empathy: Equip Students. Transform Our Schools. Change the World

Empathic People are Natural Targets for Sociopaths 

Empathy Stretching: Helping Children Exp Switching Places Seeing/Feeling Another Side by Dr Michele Borba

BLOOM 50 Things to Say, Think & Do with Anxious, Angry, & Over-the-Top Kids by Dr Lynne Kenney

Cybraryman’s You Matter Page

Empathy and Kindness Go Hand in Hand

3 Amazing Breakthroughs in the Science of Empathy

Why We Should Teach Empathy to Improve Education


Video Links:

Sesame Street: Mark Ruffalo: Empathy (YouTube 2:28)

Brené Brown on Empathy (YouTube 2:53)

5 Minute Film Festival: Videos on Kindness, Empathy & Connection from Edutopia

Empathy: The Heart of Dabrowski’s Theory – Linda Silverman

The Power of Empathy: Helen Riess at TEDxMiddlebury


Image Courtesy of Flickr  CC 2.0

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