This is the third in a series of informational blog posts: SEL Intro #3. Check back weekly or search our archive for more!
Teaching SEL is no easy matter. There are plenty of lessons and games out on the Internet that claim to teach SEL, but it takes more than curriculum to do it well. As seen in studies referenced in our previous post in this series, SEL Intro #2: What’s the Science Behind Social Emotional Learning?, training educators to teach SEL is a crucial part of successful SEL. Studies have found that the attitudes and understanding of the instructor are just as impactful, if not more so, than the curriculum itself.
Subsequently, instructor training and practice should be a big part of a successful SEL program. Before any teacher, assistant or other type of educator dives in to teach SEL, they need to spend some quality time with an expert. At Camp EDMO® experts abound: we’ve been developing our SEL program for more than 15 years. Every summer and school year, before counselors, instructors and camp directors even meet our campers, they go through a detailed and thorough training process. Even our older campers who join us as LITs (Leaders In Training) get SEL training once their camp weeks begin.
Training SEL teachers is, in a way, a sort of self-sustaining system. That’s because the method of teaching SEL found to be most effective is when teachers themselves exhibit the qualities they are trying to teach children to emulate. So in effect, the best way is to eat your own dog food, if you will. Or practice what you preach, when it comes to teaching social emotional skills.
For example, at Camp EDMO® we utilize the EDMO Method® when training our staff and teaching our campers. The EDMO Method® RECIPE, or set of six core SEL skills, includes Responsibility, Empathy, Collaboration, Initiative, Problem Solving and Emotion Management. We combine these with four mindsets: Growth, Connected, Mindfulness and Maker. When these skillsets and mindsets are in place, our campers, counselors, instructors, directors and home office staff all exhibit the character traits we strive for: Curiosity, Courage and Kindness. These traits are known to help make humans healthy, high achieving and satisfied!
We also weave SEL into Camp EDMO® curriculum, so that campers and staff practice it throughout the day. In addition, we have the EDMO Vibe Game™, which reinforces and measures 21st century life skills using cards earned for being curious, courageous and kind.
More Info, Please?
You can learn more about best practices for teaching SEL by following the links below:
- Visit the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)’s page for SEL in homes and communities.
- Read Greater Good Science Center’s post on Three Keys to Infusing SEL Into What You Already Teach.
- See Common Sense Education’s Social & Emotional Learning Educator Toolkit.
Still not sure about what SEL is? Check our previous post in this series: SEL Intro #1: What is Social Emotional Learning? Plus, be on the lookout for the next in this series of posts: SEL Intro #4: Self Awareness.