Social-Emotional Learning for Islamic School Staff

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Social-Emotional Learning for Islamic School Staff

One of the more significant changes in K-12 schools over the past decade is the emphasis on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). As school leaders realized that improving social-emotional skills in students led to improved learning and healthier classrooms, the implementation of SEL programs spread like wildfire. However, more often than not, there is one key ingredient which is often ignored, one that is often the reason why some classrooms fail to improve: Teacher training in SEL.

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Teachers go through training before entering a classroom, and have to continuously attend professional development in order to maintain their certification. However, this training usually only addresses academics and pedagogy. In order to implement SEL successfully, a teacher does not just follow a lesson plan or implement a curriculum. A teacher must model the skills and qualities he or she wishes to impart. Do all teachers possess these?

SEL is really much like psychology. How can a therapist help you if they lose their temper or argue with a patient? Similarly, many are the teachers who particularly hate or love a student – the term “teacher’s pet” is not a smoke without fire — or treat some students unfairly, or allow their personal emotions to interfere with their professional demeanor. I have personally witnessed teachers yelling at a child who kept dropping things; or teachers who fall apart in class because they are going through personal turmoil.

Fortunately, it is possible to train teachers to improve their own social and emotional skills. It follows that schools leaders who wish to improve social emotional skills in students must start by training all the staff, both certified and classified, including the administration in these selfsame skills. Then, and only then, can the staff train in how to impart social emotional skills in children.

Join us at the ISLA 2019 Leadership Retreat where we will provide professional development on this topic. Visit the 2019 retreat page for updates. Registration to open in June 2019.

Dr. Fawzia Tung has over four decades of experience in private, charter and international schools.

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