The COVID-19 pandemic is a watershed moment for education and has held up a mirror to the cracks in our education system. This defining moment in history has coerced us into rethinking education and reimagining learning spaces — changing the means and ways of educating our children. This crisis has also brought to the forefront the pivotal role of educational leaders, educational institutions, and parents in enabling an environment to develop resilient and adaptive individuals who can thrive in a rapidly changing environment. It is with individual flourishing that we can attain societal flourishing and ultimately realize the goal of sustainable peace and human flourishing. It is evident that for individuals to flourish, a few prerequisites are self-awareness, relationship building, and emotion management.
We have been focusing primarily on academic success as it could lead us to better job prospects. Perhaps, that is one reason why we see foundational literacies as just reading, writing, listening, speaking, and arithmetic. I believe, the missing element of foundational literacies across educational systems — listening, speaking, reading, and writing — has been Social and Emotional Learning/Literacy. The educational system that places undue emphasis on “academic success”, one that does not include the social and emotional competencies, is designed to fail at developing the whole child. I wonder what are we without our emotions and our feelings?
There is a need for stakeholders in education to focus on helping learners acquire emotional intelligence that enables them to regulate emotions as opposed to just controlling them. If we recognize SEL as a foundational literacy then we would be able to shape, early on, more resilient, adaptive, empathetic, mindful, compassionate, and critically aware individuals who are equipped to advance humanity by addressing some of the pressing challenges in our world.
There is growing evidence on the positive impacts of SEL in leveraging young people’s academic performance and in also equipping them with skills needed to be successful at the workplace. Therefore, it is a strong case for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) to be included as a foundational skill as it positively impacts both the individual flourishing, academic performance, and future job prospects. A growing body of research indicates the positive impact of social and emotional competencies in young learners to academic success as well as prepare them for the challenges of the 21st century. The World Economic Forum, in its Future of Jobs Report 2020, identifies the top 10 skills of 2025. It is no surprise that 8 of the 10 skills are SEL skills — working with people, self-management, and problem-solving.
Even before the pandemic, a WHO Report in 2015 has highlighted a rapid increase in mental health challenges in young people. Young people’s mental health challenges have been significantly exacerbated due to the current global pandemic. There is an urgent need to take action to tackle the mental health impact of the COVID‑19 crisis on young people through an integrated response — one that includes educational leaders, educators, staff, parents, and learners.
Having said that, there is no one-size-fits-all social and emotional learning model, approach, or program anywhere in the world that is suitable to all students and educators. If implemented incorrectly, Social and Emotional Learning can do more harm than good. In the second issue of the .ed Magazine, we bring to you some of the leading expert perspectives and youth voices on Social and Emotional Learning.
I am indebted to all our readers and our inspiring contributors for their enriching perspectives: Andreas Schleicher, Dr. Erica Frydenberg, Rachel Liang, Dr. Erik Jon Byker, Dr. Fei Victor Lim, Dr. Judy Willis, Dr. Mark T. Greenberg, Dr. Nandini Chatterjee Singh, Dr. Neelima Chopra, Renuka Rautela, Dr. Norris M . Haynes, Dr. Snezhana Djambazova-Popordanoska, Dr. Stephanie M. Jones, Natasha Raisch, Rebecca Bailey, Sonya Temko, Dr. Sue Roffey, Sacha Cartagena, Waridah Makena, and Xiaqiuzi Han.
Appreciate the generous efforts of David Adams, our Guest Editor the editorial committee members — Dr. Ashok K Pandey, Dr. Amrita Vohra, Chitvi Khorana Gogia, Jessa Mae Adriatico, Xiaqiuzi Han, and others — for their efforts and support in bringing out this fine edition of the .ed Magazine and to you.
The articles in this edition are informative, incisive, and thought-provoking. I hope you enjoy reading this issue of the .ed Magazine, an issue-based quarterly digital magazine for the transformative global educator. Please know, the .ed thrives on your support — it could be your critical feedback, a recommendation, a connection, or even material support — so do share it with us so that we can bring you a better version of the .ed to you in the future.