Social and Emotional Learning in Jewish Education: Introduction to a Series

Nov, 12, 2019

Source: eJewish Philanthropy 

There have been several recent articles about the potential held by Social and Emotional Learning methodologies and power these have when combined with an overlay of positive values. While values education has become prominent in Jewish education, SEL is still somewhat novel and deserves more attention.

What is SEL?

SEL is a set of processes which encourage supportive and engaging learning environments, and develop five interrelated competencies: 1) self-awareness, 2) self-management, 3) social awareness, 4) relationship skills, and 5) responsible decision making. The connection to Jewish education is clear. SEL is associated with meaningful classroom success, enactment of positive communal behaviors, and academic achievement. If you are in the Jewish education space, there is an opportunity for you to learn, use, and improve your instruction through SEL.

In order to carry out this important work, it is imperative to have a concrete understanding of how the choices we make about our lesson plans, our classrooms (inside or outside of the “traditional” classroom), and our educators are intentionally guided by research in emotion regulation, social dynamics, motivation, and identity development. SEL processes leverage age-old wisdom with modern data to enhance the context in which our students grow. Think of SEL not as another task to spend time on, but the lens through which all tasks ought to be viewed through.

Recent exposure of SEL to the Jewish education space has provided new opportunities for individuals and institutions to improve their learning outcomes. For example, some religious schools have implemented new SEL curricula, and some Israel travel-based programs have utilized SEL methodologies to improve community and individual development. In fact, this past October, close to 150 educators gathered for a day of learning devoted to Social, Emotional, and Spiritual Learning (sponsored by the education programs of HUC, JTS, and Reconstructing Judaism). We want to build on the considerable interest in this approach from members of this eJP community in this approach.

Read more at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Nov. 20, 2019