What is "Integrated" Social Emotional Learning?
We love this question!
It's all about "reweaving":
Reweaving academics, global learning, and SEL in order to help you(th) reweave the fabric of our communities (both as a means to address many of the challenges that we face in our world, and as an end goal in itself). To realize and live in the peaceful, just, compassionate world we dream of, we have to start early in life, every day, and everywhere.
Simply put, we believe Integrated SEL is the future of school ( if and when designed with serious depth, intention, and global awareness/diversity with a bent towards social change). And so we create resources and content to help make that more possible. To help teachers bring SEL to life in academics, in a way where the lines start to blur between traditional classes. Where learners get to be their dynamic, inter-disciplinary, complex best selves!
Read about how we think about SEL and integrating SEL with Academics in our blog! We believe SEL can't live in a silo. We also believe academic subject matter can't either. Nor can learning about social change work going on in the world (linked to various SDGs, for example).
So the real-world problem solving that children engage with in our content makes it possible to practice math, empathy, social awareness, curiosity, question-asking, communication, collaboration, social entrepreneurship, creativity, introspection, mindfulness, perspective taking, kindness, compassion, and literacy at the same time!
That makes kids really curious about, well, all aspects of learning. Research shows this is the skeleton key.
Our work is based around what we've learned through testing/experiences and from the science around social and emotional development. CASEL, Character Lab, and the Greater Good Science Center are examples. We think it matters that brain science shows how important integrating SEL with academics is. Reading an article like this about Resilience and Grit is great; we have seen the best learning can happen when this kind of reading is paired with real-world examples from diverse cultures, all integrated with academic content.
And here's a fun thing we reflect on sometimes:
When we first started making this content, the SDGs weren't announced yet by the UN, and we as a team weren't focused on creating based on terms like SEL and PBL, CRT and Global Competence, 21st century learning and other such focuses. The core team that experimented with building BeWE from the early days simply had this kind of learning in various ways throughout K-16, so it all evolved organically and through our learning.
And when we shared our content way back in the day, teachers and school leaders around the world started showing us all the ways that layers of our content aligned with all of these various competencies, toolkits, and topics. And then showed us how important it was that we point out and tag where the various competencies can be focused on so that it's clearer to everyone using the content.
That has been a fun journey, as it reminds us that at the core, this is content by and for humans to all love learning. We didn't start with any specific skillset or competencies or type of learning in mind, and we never plan to narrow our format to focus on any one particular skill or focus. It feels like just another silo, and the magic (to us at least) of integrating all of this stuff together is it really starts to feel like LIFE.. not "class".
The beauty of this content -- Integrated Global SEL Stories -- is that it's adaptive and inclusive across ALL the ways we learn and all the things we can learn about! Beyond words.