The Aspen Institute-sponsored National Commission on Social Emotional & Academic Development report, From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope, was published in January 2019.
While we agree that the time has come to fully integrate SEL into our schools, the report calls for using SEL as a tool to make students achieve more academically. We see that as a form of child manipulation. The report falls short of what is needed to address mental health and well-being needs.
Educators need a framework with a set of methods to be able to impact the emotional well-being of children in their classrooms and schools. In that regard, the authors take a step in the right direction by recommending that schools change instruction to intentionally teach students social, emotional, and cognitive skills, and infuse them in academic content and all aspects of the school setting, not just in stand-alone programs or lessons. Unfortunately, children’s emotional and psychological well-being is not the fundamental purpose for the report’s recommendations.
Here is a link to the full story where we challenge all educators to think about the fundamental purpose of using social emotional learning (SEL) in their schools and classrooms: https://www.eschoolnews.com/2019/02/18/are-educators-using-sel-empower-or-to-manipulate/
Bottom line, the Aspen report did not further our understanding of those SEL best practices that are available NOW to teachers to produce mental health and well-being outcomes. They and we can do better!