US Schools Encouraged to Teach the ABC’s of Emotions

What if schools taught kids mindfulness and empathy along with traditional academic skills? A new legislative act allows US schools to fund social and emotional learning (SEL) programming. 

Kids go to school to learn how to read, write, think, and reason. But is that enough for success in future jobs and in life? Many education experts think that may not be enough.

This week, Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)—author of A Mindful Nation and The Real Food Revolution—and colleagues introduced the Academic, Social and Emotional Learning Act.

Ryan’s comments from yesterday’s press release:

“These programs are scientifically proven to help students increase skills in problem-solving, conflict resolution, responsible decision-making and relationship building—these are the skills that will build the foundation for students to better perform academically and throughout their lives.”

The legislation supports teacher training in SEL to help young people deal with social issues (stress, bullying, drug use), and studies are beginning to show that SEL programming can boost academic potential.

“Self-awareness—turning our attention to our inner world of thoughts and feelings—allows us to manage ourselves well,” Daniel Goleman, bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence and Focus, wrote recently, on the topic of why emotinal literacy should be taught in schools.

“An inner focus lets us understand and handle our inner world, even when rocked by disturbing feelings. This is a life skill that keeps us on track throughout the years, and helps children become better learners.”

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