social emotional learning
This report proposes a conceptual framework for defining and implementing a system of integrated student supports that provides equitable access to college and career readiness via Linked Learning pathways in high schools. The framework emphasizes the central commitment of the Linked Learning approach to challenge prevailing norms of stratification in the American high school, and to prepare all students for college and career.
This brief outlines how effectively integrated student supports build or scaffold student competencies in five broad domains of learning for college, career, and civic readiness. Relevant supports are not limited to services or programs but extend to enabling resources and social conditions, including, for example, attention to school culture and climate issues, access to physical and behavioral health interventions, and the communicated beliefs and mindsets of all adults who work with youth.
The goals of this brief are two-fold. One is to contribute to efforts to reach some agreement about tools and constructs focused on social and emotional assets. Although different institutions and organizations gather some information about positive social and emotional development, the youth development field does not have an agreed upon set of positive indicators that span research, policy, and practice. The review of literature on youth development practices and tools to measure assets suggests several indicator themes.
In 2009, the Gardner Center began working in partnership with the Redwood City School District to gain a deeper understanding of classroom practices to promote motivation and achievement in middle school. Each spring, all middle school students in the district completed a survey about their motivational beliefs and classroom experiences. In response to conversations with teachers and administrators, the 2011 survey incorporated a new set of questions to capture students’ perceptions of classroom practices that convey care and support.
As students transition from elementary school to middle school, their motivation to learn declines along with their engagement in learning. This decline is especially troubling for low-income, minority youth who are more likely to have struggled academically during their elementary school years. The decline in motivation and engagement, however, is not inevitable. What happens in classrooms can make a difference by promoting a set of beliefs that help launch young adolescents on positive educational and developmental trajectories.