Social and emotional learning is designed to sculpt fundamental abilities such as paying attention and exercising self-control. In one program, children learn to focus on, and control, their breathing.
Social and emotional learning is designed to sculpt fundamental abilities such as paying attention and exercising self-control. In one program, children learn to focus on, and control, their breathing.Image: CHRISTOPHER MORRIS
- Some researchers and educators believe that school should hone psychological skills called executive functions that are needed to plan and carry out goal-directed activity.
- Learning issues afflict large numbers of children not because they are unintelligent but because they have trouble focusing or following through in the face of frustration.
- A dispassionate focus on the present—mindfulness—helps to ward off stress and can improve brain function.
- Thinking about thinking, known as metacognition, may give kids better control over how they think and feel in ways that could enhance learning.
More In This Article
A tiny dark-haired girl bedecked in a brown dress with a crinoline skirt sits calmly on the rug in front of her class of fellow kindergartners; her pink boots, dotted with sparkles, are tucked neatly under her legs. Wielding a small metal rod, she taps on a triangular chime. At the tone, her classmates clasp their hands together like a cup, with the back of one hand in the palm of the other, close their eyes, fall silent, and proceed to say and do apparently nothing.
Minutes pass. Then the fancily frocked girl strikes the triangle a second time. Kids begin to open their eyes, and after a pause a sweet, high-pitched “thank you” emerges from the girl, and she reassumes her place among her classmates.
This article was originally published with the title The Education of Character.