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November 29, 2022

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Home » Feature » Education

Social-emotional skill is the way to go

Central to learning in Grade 1 is creating a safe, caring and supportive environment. For our students to excel and be more ready, we must equip them with social and emotional skills, not just literacy, numeracy, or other academic skills.

Working together to develop students’ social and emotional skills leads to the development of vital skills for success in school work and life. For the “How we Learn” yearlong unit of inquiry, the Grade 1 students are exploring the IB approaches to learning, namely communication skills, research skills, self-management, social skills, and thinking skills. Social and emotional learning is connected to social skills and self-management skills. The benefits of social and emotional skills include the following:

• Addressing everyone’s well-being

• Ensuring that everyone is successful and feels valued

• Enhancing student learning

• Applying life skills

• Showing empathy, understanding and appreciation for others

• Reducing stress, anxiety, and depression

• Avoiding conflict with others

• Establishing positive relationships

• Promoting learner agency

Students have identified how they feel and how important it is to develop calm-down strategies for those times when they need a break, including watching a lava lamp, using a breathing ball, reading books and using timers, among other things. These self-management skills help students manage themselves and their spaces effectively. We also modeled the idea of consent and how it is crucial to be able to say “no” and to listen to others when they say it.

These essential social skills are used daily in school, and it is wonderful to see students gaining confidence and exercising their agency in such ways.

(Cat Wells is Hangzhou International School Lower School Grade 1 teacher.)


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