Announcements

Dena Simmons, Ed.D., Activist and Educator, Honored with “The Future is Now” Award

Dena Simmons, Ed.D., Activist and Educator, Honored with “The Future is Now” Award

Posted on Jun 20, 2017

Dena Simmons’ first role model was her mother, whose resilience and strength brought her to the United States from Antigua. In New York, she worked tirelessly to create a world in which Dena and her sisters could thrive. Dena’s mom instilled the value of education in her daughters, empowering them to effect change in their lives, and the lives of others, through learning. Today, Dena is a role model for countless women and girls across the nation. A renowned author, speaker and activist, scholar and educator, Dena is a beacon for anyone pursuing a life of learning, teaching, and social activism. From a young age, Dena’s pursuit of knowledge was powered by a learned and lived experience of injustice and inequality. In a segment profiling her as one of PBS’s “Makers: Women Who Make America,” Dena shares experiences of racial inequity, violence and prejudice in her childhood that were driving forces behind her decision to dedicate her life to educating others and fighting for justice. After graduating from Middlebury College, Dena returned to her hometown of the Bronx as an educator. In Ms. Simmons’ classroom, safety came first. Dena knew that before the academic goals set by administrators could be met, her students needed to feel confident and loved in the classroom. She was determined to create the school environment she wished she’d had growing up in the Bronx. “Every child deserves an education that guarantees the safety to learn in the comfort of one’s own skin,” she says in her powerful 2015 TED Talk, ‘How students of color confront imposter syndrome.’ Dena, a student of life, is a Truman Scholar, a Paul and Daisy Soros New American Fellow, and a Fulbright Scholar. She is a graduate of Pace University’s Childhood Education Master’s Program, and Columbia University, Teachers College. Her passion and motto of “leading with the heart” has brought her on a journey of fellowship and learning around … read more

Dena Simmons of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Presents TED Talk on Broadway

Dena Simmons of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Presents TED Talk on Broadway

Posted on Dec 22, 2016

Last November, our Director of Education, Dena Simmons, gave a TED talk on Broadway, and we are happy to report that her talk, How students of color confront impostor syndrome, is now live. In her talk, Dena shares her journey to where she is now and illustrates the emotional damage done when young people can't be themselves, when they are forced to erase themselves in order to be acceptable. She urges all of us to create educational experiences that allow all students to learn in the comfort of their own skin. To see Dena’s talk, please … read more

For Families: How to Respond to Our Young People

For Families: How to Respond to Our Young People

Posted on Nov 11, 2016

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 … read more

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

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

Posted on Sep 12, 2016

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 … read more

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

Posted on Jun 21, 2016

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 … read more

Field Day with the Mood Meter

Field Day with the Mood Meter

Posted on Jun 20, 2016

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.” … read more