Advocates want social, emotional learning in schools

It can be as simple as a breathing exercise between classes

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – As we see school shootings taking place across the country, supporters believe they have come up with a program that can help combat bullying.

It is called “Social-Emotional Learning.” Supporters of the program believe it would help pre-kindergarten to high school students struggling with aggression and violence. U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said, “it teaches them how to regulate their own emotions so year and years later it doesn’t end up a bottle of aggression gets spilled out in a school shooting, violence in the playground or in a neighborhood.”

The Social-Emotional Learning Alliance of Massachusetts held its fourth annual conference at the State House in Boston. This type of learning is different from traditional school subjects, such as mathematics, science and history. Teachers would incorporate lessons into the curriculum showing how to understand your emotions and how to interact with others.

Mile Tree Elementary School teacher Jennifer Rothschild-Shea told 22News it can be as simple as a breathing exercise between recess and lunch. She said, “if I’m reading a book and it says someone is anxious, we talk about what that means to feel anxious and where in their body they notice that and how they can calm themselves down.”

There is opposition. The program would add another layer of responsibility for teachers. It can also be difficult to test the effectiveness of Social-Emotional Learning, as you would other subjects. State and federal funding also plays a huge role. School districts would have to spend money to train teachers how to practice Social-Emotional Learning.


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