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Posts by Jeff Waller

Social Emotional Learning Standards: A New Definition

Purpose of Life Quotes

Last August, CASEL announced a “joint effort” to establish Social Emotional Learning Standards across 8 US states. For many long-time advocates, the creation of declarative, procedural, schematically-built guidelines will surely speed up consensus, funding and implementation of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in all classrooms. But as we visit schools, what we sometimes hear is that the move towards standards could also be a dangerous…

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Social Emotional Learning Training for Creating Connection

Social Emotional Learning Training

“Social Emotional Learning Training” – eh? As the number of students per class continues to grow, teachers find it increasingly difficult to create meaningful connections with each of their students. Many of us find it difficult to pin down exactly what a meaningful connection is. That’s why, regardless of our age, wisdom, and experience, all of us can benefit from a…

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Four Essential Teaching Skills for the 21st Century Educator

Teaching Skills

When my son Daniel started the first grade, he was struggling with reading. My wife and I felt that we’d done everything we could as parents, placing him in preschool programs at age two, and reading to him every night. We were understandably concerned.  Reading is critical for academic success, and our son was behind.…

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How to Change School Culture with PBIS

Change School Culture

I learned something recently that shocked and horrified me:  the United States prison system forecasts its space demands based on current discipline data captured in our schools. This practice even has a disconcerting name:  the school-to-prison-pipeline. Approximately 3.3 million suspensions and over 100,000 expulsions occur each year.  This number has nearly doubled since 1974, with…

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4 Ways SEL Schools Can Succeed

SEL Schools

Many years ago, I took a stand-up comedy class.  It wasn’t because I thought I was funny, it was just an effort to get more comfortable speaking in public. At the time, I wasn’t aware that the final “class” was actually the students all performing at a local Comedy Club.  I was petrified. The instructor…

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5 Empowering Thoughts on Teaching

Thoughts on Teaching

I recently read a quote by famed educational psychologist Lee Shulman that discussed the challenges of being a classroom teacher.  He said: “Classroom teaching is perhaps the most complex, most challenging, and most demanding, subtle, nuanced, and frightening activity that our species has ever invented. In fact, when I compared the complexity of teaching with…

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What is Social and Emotional Learning?

When we conducted our research years ago, it was based on a simple question: Why are some people happy and successful while many others struggle? It was a simple question with a pretty complex answer, and one that certainly wasn’t what we expected. Happiness and success are predicated not on what we know or where…

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Why Schools Must Teach Social Emotional Learning

Years ago, we were acquainted with a wonderful young man who had gotten into some trouble and been suspended from the basketball team. The problem was, he hadn’t told his parents, and they’d invited his entire extended family to attend the first game of the year (1). He approached his school counselor with the problem.…

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