words of bad feelings

Antioch University is Helping Teachers Build Capacity for Social Emotional Learning

Antioch University’s Continuing Education Programs hosted an online event on June 15 titled Building Capacity for Social Emotional Learning. This event, which was sponsored by Six Seconds and Antioch University’s Doctor of Education program, explored the Social Emotional Learning framework and how being in tune with students’ emotions can be a powerful educational tool.

In this event, Cherilyn Leet, the Director of Education and Partnerships at Six Seconds, presented along with Joshua Freedman, Six Seconds’ co-founder and CEO of Six Seconds, and Ashley Tucker. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is an educational method that aims to foster social and emotional skills within school curriculum. Antioch’s EdD in Educational & Professional Practice now offers a specialization in SEL through their partnership with Six Seconds. SEL addresses self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making in students—and in ourselves.

During the event, attendees took a poll on their current feelings, and the organizers used it to create a word cloud with a mix of emotions—from hopeful to anxious. Freedman said that the cloud of emotions may look negative, but it’s vital to check in and recognize our emotions to move forward—especially as educators. Friedman says, “We’re facing a particular challenge in terms of emotions, people feel more disconnected. Younger generations are feeling a tremendous burden. As this tide of emotional challenges is rising, I think that we need to have more skills with emotions.” Emotions have been proven to play a key role in how and why students learn cognitive skills such as attention, memory, executive function, decision-making, critical thinking, problem-solving, and regulation.

Near the end of the event, Cherilyn Leet spoke on how many teachers, going into the second year of teaching during a global pandemic, found they were having to pivot their classroom strategies, especially with the little ones who have only experienced school over Zoom and in some cases had never even set foot in a classroom setting.

Ashley Tucker closed the event by speaking about her appreciation and understanding of SEL. “I love that it’s a process, that it’s acquiring this knowledge,” she said. “We’re always practicing. That’s what life is: we practice and each day has so many moments in which you could choose to respond one way or another.” She said, “We can’t address our emotions… if we don’t address this political context of where we’re living in this moment right now.”

Attendees left the event feeling hopeful for teachers and students, and excited to learn more about the SEL Program being offered by Antioch University’s EdD in partnership with Six Seconds.