Ruler Announcements

For Families: How to Respond to Our Young People

For Families: How to Respond to Our Young People

At the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, we recommend that you check in with your own feelings first.  Name what you feel, and use a strategy – maybe deep breathing— to calm your own emotions in order to be available for a conversation with your child. Then, listen to your child’s feelings and validate them. Create space for them to ask questions, and listen deeply to their concerns. One particular concern we’ve heard quite a bit so far is: “How does a man who says mean things get to be the President?” Here are some thoughts to guide your conversations: Not all people/families feel the same way about how wrong it is to say mean things. Then, you can share what your family feels. Remind your child of your family values and the type of behavior you expect them to engage in despite what is being modeled in the media. Share that it is likely that many people thought that Trump didn’t mean everything he said or that he will change for the better now that he is president-elect. What can you do when talking is over? Your family and you have the right to decide how you want to feel and how you want to act all of the time.  Our tool, the Charter, can help to create this written “agreement” of feelings and behaviors as a family. The Charter details the specific feelings you want to feel and what you will ‘do’ to ensure that everyone can have those feelings. You can also share how you will continue to do good work to make the world a better place. Then, ask your child how she/he can be a helper in her/his world. Another question we are hearing is: “How do we ‘fix’ all of the hurt feelings in the country? How do we help people to talk to each other?” Start by listening and talking to each other at home and being patient and curious about different opinions and each other’s feelings. Communicate to your child that in our communities and, in fact, all over the country, there are groups of people who feel the way you do, and there are also other people who feel differently. Each one of us can be kind and respectful and a good listener. Each of us can be a change-maker, adding to positivity in the world in our own way by talking to and understanding, uniting people with different opinions. Share your family values. Ask your child to think of a superhero that has his/ her values – and, share your own hero. Think of how your superhero would help people to feel less divided.   

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Marc Brackett to speak at White House Summit on Sept. 12

Marc Brackett to speak at White House Summit on Sept. 12

Marc Brackett, director of  the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, will be among the experts speaking at the second annual White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools. The event — to be livestreamed at www.whitehouse.gov 8:30–9:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 12 — will bring together state and district leaders, educators, philanthropists, students, and parents who are reinventing the high school experience to better empower students to seize opportunities in today’s economy and working to expand access to innovative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teaching and personalized learning. Bracket, along with Facebook, will present research on social and emotional learning and school 

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How Can Adults Help Children in the Aftermath of Violence? A RULER Approach

How Can Adults Help Children in the Aftermath of Violence? A RULER Approach

A week ago, people were out having a good time, enjoying their lives, celebrating community, and never thinking that in a short time their lives would be over. As we mark one week from the unimaginable violence in Orlando—the murders of 49 innocent people with over 50 people seriously injured—it’s worth reflecting on how survivors absorb unspeakable losses and how the public, as witnesses, can cope with what happened. Violent attacks terrify all of us by their randomness, the unexpected location, and the human toll. We work with schools, and so we especially think about the teachers, administrators, staff, and parents who are in a position to talk with children about what happened, a conversation that is necessary since the event is all over the news and in surrounding discussions. Our work has shown us that it is important that adults grapple with their own feelings first—fear, anxiety, and more—before entering conversations with children. If you’re a teacher or a parent, your kids will count on you to do this emotional work. For the child’s sake, you need to be able to think clearly, demonstrate calm, and model the courage to respond to the tough questions. A little like putting your own oxygen masks on first, this focus on calming yourself allows you to feel into the right timing for, and the right opening into, the emotionally difficult conversations. It’s okay to allow, even make peace with, the discomfort of uncertainty—after all, the reality is that there are unanswerable questions and a frustrating lack of progress to solutions. In short, managing, rather than suppressing your feelings, allows you to reach out compassionately to others. How, exactly, to do this is neither obvious nor easy, especially since we adults are often set in our emotional ways. The RULER skills we teach at the Center—Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating emotions—can show a way that adults and children alike can cope with the aftermath of violence. Here are some RULER-based suggestions for teachers: Feel your feelings. During a traumatic event, not feeling your feelings is fine—and often necessary. When we feel threatened, the brain prepares us for action (to fight, flee, or freeze), with the result that survival responses trump feelings and thinking which only kick in later. This feeling of shock can leave you feeling numb and temporarily “frozen.” But gradually, emotions will thaw and surface. You might not even connect with them right away but only notice them as they affect your actions—for example, you notice that you’re suddenly hesitant to go to crowed public places because of fear of another event. Allow the feelings before rushing to action. Be aware of them. Give yourself permission and a lot of space to experience them. The irony about feelings is that when we connect with them, they have their own life, their own timeline, and pace of metabolizing and moving. But if we suppress or minimize them, they will not be ignored, and they can slow down the healing, create wrong decisions, or even show up as physical symptoms. Everyone has a different timeline–people’s responses to trauma and grief vary widely, so you might feel anything at any time, including intrusive grief that pops up at random times in unexpected situations. That’s normal, too. Consider regulating them. Once your feelings are in focus, you may decide how you want to respond to them—this is bringing the thinking part of the brain to your feelings. Your response may be to do nothing about the feelings…you may sense they need more time and space or they are too raw. Or, because of 

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Field Day with the Mood Meter

Field Day with the Mood Meter

This story was shared with us by Dawn DeCosta, Principal, Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School. “We have a Family Field Day every year at FDR State Park. It’s like a family barbecue with all our staff, students and families. The Dads cook on the grill and we have a day of fun, dancing, music, games and food. We decided this year to have the mood meter on our shirts since we know the students like to make the field day shirts a part of our uniform. I thought it would be wonderful to have everyone with their own personal mood meter that they could take home. This will allow our RULER work at school to carry on at home for our students and their families. It is a great way to continue to spread the notion that emotions matter.” 

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Facebook and Yale Honor Teens Creating Positive Change in their High Schools

Facebook and Yale Honor Teens Creating Positive Change in their High Schools

We are thrilled to announce the 2016 inspirED Changemaker Award winners, sponsored by Facebook and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Ten exceptional teams of students and educators from high schools around the U.S. have been selected to receive this prestigious award in its inaugural year. Supporting greater social and emotional learning and greater wellbeing for young people in schools is a top priority for thae inspirED program and its partners. We created the Changemaker Award to recognize and celebrate passionate students and educators who are committed to developing innovative and positive learning environments. The response to the award was overwhelming and the selection process was extremely challenging, with a large number of high quality applications from schools around the nation. Award recipients will receive a grant between $5,000 to $10,000 and invitations to the inspirED SEL Summit to be held in fall 2016 at Facebook’s Headquarters. And the 2016 inspirED Changemaker Awards go to: Westbrook High School, Connecticut Grossmont High School, California Frederick Douglass High School, Georgia Diamond Bar High School, California High Tech High School, California Pine View High School, Florida Northwestern High School, Connecticut Milwaukie High School, Oregon Taos High School, New Mexico Campbell High School, Georgia We were extremely impressed with all of the applicants and would like to thank each student and educator who applied to the program this year. The stories of each of our award winners will be featured on the inspirED site in the fall. Please visit us at inspired.fb.com to read their stories, find out how to apply for the program next year, try out the resources yourself, and keep in touch with us for future opportunities. Keep up the amazing work you’re doing – together we can make a difference! For more information about the inspirED program, visit our 

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Dena Simmons, a 2016 Scenarios USA Honoree

Dena Simmons, a 2016 Scenarios USA Honoree

NEW YORK ~ Scenarios USA, a national non-profit organization that uses education and filmmaking to engage teens to think critically and creatively on issues of social justice and identity, with a focus on underrepresented communities, will host the 2016 Scenarios Awards/Gala on June 7, 2016. The Gala will honor influential individuals in media and education as well as the winners of the Scenarios 2016 REAL DEAL Writing Contest, and will host dynamic guests across fields of film, philanthropy, activism and more. The Gala will honor Dena Simmons, a prolific writer and thought leader on education reform prioritizing social justice pedagogy. 

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Dena Simmons at the United Nations

Dena Simmons at the United Nations

May 19, 2016~ Dena Simmons speaks at the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship hosted at the UN. Dena’s talk is titled EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE – Why a digital world depends on it. @TheWSIE @DenaSimmons For more information   

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Social Learning: Dr. Marc Brackett Returns to Trumbull High

The Trumbull Times ~ April 15th, 2016 | Academic advancement can’t be achieved without prioritizing and teaching the importance of mental health. That’s the lesson Trumbull Superintendent Dr. Gary Cialfi and crisis intervention specialist Bill Mecca have learned throughout their careers as educators — one that was reinforced to them in August, when keynote speaker Dr. Marc Brackett delivered a convocation address to Trumbull faculty and administrators before kicking off the 2015-16 school year. Brackett, the director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, left such a strong impression that morning that the schools knew they had to have him return to speak with students and parents about social-emotional learning. “I’ve never had a keynote speaker resonate like him,” Cialfi recalled. “The convocation usually ends with teachers jumping out of their seats to get into their classrooms, but they stayed and talked with Dr. Bracket. Full Article Here 

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Emotional Intelligence Explained in Bridgeport

Emotional Intelligence Explained in Bridgeport

CT Post ~ March 18th, 2016 | BRIDGEPORT — Feelings matter. So much so that they impact learning, decisions and behavior. That was the message Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, brought to a room of more than 200 Bridgeport Public Education Fund supporters on Friday. For two years, $350,000 in grants from the Tauck Family Foundation have helped support a program in the city school district called RULER, short for Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing and Regulating emotions. First principals and teachers were trained, and this school year students started learning the basics of not only identifying feelings, but controlling them as well. Full Article 

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Highline Students Are Latest To Learn About Emotions Along With ABCs

The Seattle Times ~ March 16th, 2016 | Kids at Southern Heights Elementary School in Burien are learning this month what to do in those few seconds after they feel a flash of anger, but before they act in a way that could land them in the principal’s office. Instead of lashing out, you take a deep breath and imagine how your “best self” would handle it. It’s called a “meta-moment,” part of a new effort this year to teach emotional smarts alongside academics. The school is using an approach called RULER, one of many programs being used by schools around the country to promote social and emotional learning. RULER was developed at Yale University to show students — and their teachers and principals— how to Recognize, Understand, Label, Express and Regulate emotions. Full Article 

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The Facebook Breakup

The Facebook Breakup

The New York Times ~ March 9th, 2016  |  For Kate Sokoloff, a brand strategist in Portland, Ore., the Facebook mirror of her breakup with her boyfriend of three years was like “an emotional sucker punch,” she said. “Not 15 minutes after we broke up four years ago, and probably while he was still parked outside of my house, he changed his status to ‘single.’”… It’s not news that the social network, whose roiling environs hold over 1.5 billion people, is a complex and sometimes confounding space. Navigating its evolving rules and byways requires the nuance and skill of a Jane Austen heroine, as well as the thick skin of a politician. The Compassion Team is devoted to making Facebook’s interactions more human, and more humane… [They] have developed tools to help with social resolution, bullying, online aggression (or perceived aggression), eating disorders and issues particular to high school students, working with the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and other academic partners. Full Article Here   

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Mummy is Having a ‘Yellow Day’, Thanks for Asking

Mummy is Having a ‘Yellow Day’, Thanks for Asking

The Telegraph ~ February 27th, 2016 | Moments after I had given birth to my third child, my husband handed me my mobile phone. Our eldest son, Hector, three, was calling. “How are you, Mummy?” he asked. “How are you feeling?” He wasn’t being polite. He was genuinely interested in my emotional state. “Happy,” I replied. “I’m excited about introducing you to your new brother.” It’s his nursery’s fault. His teachers are encouraging children as young as two-and-a-half to talk openly about their moods and emotions. As a result, Hector is constantly asking me if I’m happy or sad. He tells me if something or someone upsets him (often with tear-jerking honesty) and when his younger brother, Alfie, two, steals his Lego, he will admit that he wants to “smash and bash” him. I take this as my cue to intervene. Full Article 

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Will Facebook’s New Reactions Reduce Written Comments?

Will Facebook’s New Reactions Reduce Written Comments?

San Jose Mercury News ~ February 26th, 2016 | I have mixed feelings about Facebook’s new Reactions product. On one hand, I applaud the company for offering users a wider range of emotional responses they can easily make to other people’s posts but I worry that it might cause some to make fewer comments the old-fashioned way, by typing their original thoughts. Until Wednesday, the only way you could acknowledge a person’s post with a single click was to “like” it. That’s fine for responding to something positive, but not if the person just posted that his dog died or that she got laid off from her job. With the new Reactions, you can now hover over the Like button and also choose Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry. Full Article 

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How to Help Your Child Develop Executive Function and Self-Regulation Skills

How to Help Your Child Develop Executive Function and Self-Regulation Skills

Noodle.com ~ February 24th, 2016 |  The refrains from the traditional games that many of us played as children — and that many children play today — are not just the sounds of children having fun. They are also the sounds of children learning! The skills children practice when playing these games are not only important on the playground, but also in social and educational settings. Why? At the heart of each of these games is a crucial skill: executive functioning. Executive functioning has three components: Attentional flexibility: the ability to pay attention to instructions, ignore distractions, and switch focus from one task or person to another (e.g., listening expressly for the words “Simon Says”) Working memory: the ability to keep information in your mind long enough to follow through with instructions (e.g., remembering to stay still if tagged “duck” and to run if tagged “goose”) Inhibitory control: the ability to stop and respond in a way that might feel less natural, but is more appropriate (e.g., refraining from disregarding the wishes of the “mother” when those differ from what is requested) Full Article Here 

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The Faas Foundation Announces Partnership With Yale Center For Emotional Intelligence To Study Role Of Emotions In The Workplace

PR Newswire ~ February 22nd, 2016 | Andrew Faas, founder of The Faas Foundation, announced a joint initiative with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to create the Emotion Revolution in the Workplace. In order to build positive work climates, this groundbreaking initiative between business and academia will investigate the role emotions play in the work environment, including: How employees feel about their work Why they feel the way they do The impact emotions have on individual and organizational performance, overall health, and well-being How to effectively build positive workplace climates “We are excited that The Faas Foundation has decided to partner with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to bring emotional intelligence into the workplace. Last year, we successfully launched the Emotion Revolution in school settings with the Born this Way Foundation, founded by Lady Gaga and her mom, Cynthia Germanotta. Now with support from the Faas Foundation we can launch the Emotion Revolution in the Workplace in order to promote psychologically safe and healthy workplaces for all employees,” said Dr.Marc Brackett, Director of Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Full Article 

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