I had a chance to do a semantic noise activity with some of our Associates recently. I love these exercises because they are an easy and eye-opening way to explore differences in the perspectives of the Emergenetics® Attributes.
All you do is pick a word, phrase or topic. Then, group participants according to one of their preferred Attributes and ask them to share what the sentiment means through that Thinking or Behavioral lens. It’s incredible to see the insights that people have as they realize the nuances in how others interpret even ONE word!
Our recent exploration centered on social emotional learning (SEL). Having a focus on self-awareness, self-management, social skills and responsible decision making has been a priority in education. It’s no surprise given all of the data about its positive impacts.
In our exercise, we explored the question:
What do the Attributes need to embrace SEL in learning and life?
Because the Emergenetics Attributes are universal, we know that taking a holistic view of what each preference needs will offer clarity into the types of strategies that will help educators successfully implement SEL into the classroom.
To realize the positive effects that social emotional learning can have, I invite administrators and educators to review the considerations our participating Associates identified and reflect on how these recommendations can inspire their work.
4 Considerations from the Thinking Attributes
Connect to the Reasoning
People with an Analytical preference typically care about the purpose and impact behind SEL in general as well as each activity or lesson that is being taught. For educators, having confidence in the value of what they are delivering will boost the probability that they will find the time to incorporate it in class. For youth, knowing that they are going to get something worthwhile out of the experience will help them to be more willing and able to engage in the material.
Promote Best Practices
To honor Structural thinkers, administrators can provide guidelines to their staff to encourage effective execution including the best times to deliver the lessons, useful reflection procedures and recommended processes. The suggestions make it easier to make good use of the time teachers are dedicating to SEL. Applying a consistent approach also helps students with a Structural preference by setting clear expectations and giving them a standard methodology, so they know when and how to use the strategies.
Support Collaborative Learning
When it comes to the Social Attribute, learning with and through others is one of the best ways to cement understanding. Try providing platforms, forums or meetings where educators can discuss SEL wins and challenges. Youth benefit from collaborative education as well, so I invite you to identify grouping strategies and allow time for kids to connect with each other about their takeaways and discoveries.
Inspire Unusual Connections
The Conceptual Attribute tends to get energy from experiential learning and novelty. Improve implementation by having a brainstorming session with staff to illuminate what a successful SEL environment feels like and sounds like. Encourage teachers to do the same thing with their students to make connections for learners with this preference. Be sure that educators can have a place to share different, unusual SEL-related activities, in addition to the standard practices, so they have new ideas to bring to their class.
3 Planning Tips from the Behavioral Attributes
In addition to using Thinking Attributes to inspire action around SEL, the Behavioral Attributes can provide direction to improve the delivery of this type of learning.
Make sure that staff and students have multiple ways to express their inputs on SEL-related teaching, activities and lessons. Use surveys, focus groups and conversation to get feedback on what has worked well and where changes could be made.
Educators have a lot on their plates as they are often managing multiple, competing initiatives and have a lot to fit in! Be realistic and reasonable in setting the pace for SEL programming so that teachers feel supported and students are not overwhelmed.
Everyone across the Flexibility spectrum appreciates having choice in what they take part in. By giving educators and learners options on when and how to engage in SEL activities, it can amplify the likelihood for success.
Strong social-emotional skills help youth thrive in school and beyond. That’s why it is so important to find ways to make these lessons easy to integrate into daily activities. By considering each of the Emergenetics Attributes, teachers will boost their own capacity to support social emotional learning and even better, engage and educate students along the way!