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How to build empathy in the classroom, one story at a time

The Guardian – Jon Biddle

“With the pressure on teachers and schools to prepare students for exams, or – as in my case – getting them ready to move from primary to secondary school, it’s easy to lose sight of the values pupils learn in our company. I was reminded of this recently, after a project about refugees prompted one to tell me: “I used to think that refugees were different from us. Now I don’t.” Another said, “This was probably some of my favourite work that we’ve ever done. We’re learning about the real world and how we’re all part of it. Like, everyone, not just us and the people we know.” That work was part of a pilot project my school, Moorlands primary academy in Norfolk, was trialling for EmpathyLab.” (more)

Now is the time to redefine readiness

E-School News – Katherine Prince

“Today’s working adults have seen a lot of change in the employment landscape. But that change is likely to be modest compared to the changes coming between now and 2040. We stand at the beginning of a new era driven by exponential advances in digital technologies. As that era unfolds, people will increasingly work alongside machine partners to navigate, make sense of, and contribute to the world around us. In addition, the structures within which we work are likely to change significantly.” (more)

Attentive adults increase children’s ability to empathise

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“For human beings to function socially, they need to be able to perceive, understand, and talk about others’ mental states, such as beliefs, desires and intentions. There is no consensus among researchers as to when children develop this ability. Previous research indicates that it emerges around the age of four, but research at Lund University in Sweden shows that children can demonstrate this ability earlier – within social situations that they experience together with an engaged adult.” (more)

Integrating SEL in the Classroom

Edutopia – Chris Bryner

“Recently, the Aspen Institute released “The Practice Base for How We Learn: Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development,” which contains several statements of practice for integrating these different aspects of learning. Among them is the recognition that “the key to fostering social and emotional development is a continuing loop in which we first help students understand why the skills are important and how they can be used effectively, then create opportunities for students to practice those skills, and finally provide feedback and time for reflection.'” (more)

With increased focus on students’ social and emotional skills, teachers turn to class pets to help lead the way

Ed Source – Ashley Hopkinson

“Like many class pets, Maurice symbolizes a classroom feature that has long been common in schools. But now, in some classrooms, class pets are doing more than helping children learn about animals. They are being integrated into teachers’ efforts to help young students learn social and emotional skills, such as self-awareness, self-management, responsibility and relationship building. Social and emotional learning helps children understand how to show kindness and compassion for others, learn to manage negative emotions like anger or sadness or how to recognize their strengths and limitations. For instance, a teacher explains to a student who was unable to complete a task as quickly as another student that everyone learns at their own pace.” (more)

What Is Mindfulness? Students Share What It Looks Like in Public Schools

Ed Surge – Jenny Abamu

“In 2016, the Austin Independent School District’s Office of Social and Emotional Learning launched a pilot to bring mindfulness practices to classrooms. Today, Butler, the new Mindfulness Specialist (yes, that’s his title) for the district, leads the practice in all 130 public schools. What is the goal of adding mindfulness in the district? Officials say they hope the practice can help students be “present,” reducing stress, anxiety and helping them cope with traumatic experiences by incorporating breathing exercises, stretching and yoga throughout the school day. Students in the district note that they have seen differences in their educational experience.” (more)