Announcements

Be Your Own Best Mentor in 2016

Be Your Own Best Mentor in 2016

Posted on Jan 7, 2016

In the world of education, January is self-mentoring month. We don’t know when this was created, but it sure gives us an opportunity to combat those winter doldrums and post-holiday blues by refocusing us inward. Whatever your holiday season was like: family-filled, active and away, a vacation, a ‘nowhere to go’ staycation, or reflective, solitary time spent counting the minutes until 2015 was over, it is now all behind you. Welcome to 2016 and a clean slate! Many of us wonder why we have a sense of let down or feel adrift after so much time away from our typical routines. It is natural to fall into a kind of blue period after all the excitement, stress, and whirlwind of time with friends and family has ceased. Perhaps, visitors have returned home or you have gone home and are feeling the tug of separation anew. Or, it might be the sadness that your days of relaxation and self-indulgence are over. For some, it is merely the realization that another year has come and gone and that there are still many miles to go before you reach that much-coveted goal. As the New Year begins, take time to self-mentor by gifting yourself with an opportunity to pause and reset. Here are a few things we suggest: Start with gratitude – after all, you made it to another season, which is no small matter! So, appreciate yourself: all you’ve accomplished in the last 365 days, and everything and everyone around you. Clean your psychological “attic” – reflect on which habits, activities, intentions you want to bring with you into the New Year and which ones to leave behind. Ask yourself, “Can I live without this?” or “What benefit does this offer?” Allow questions such as these to be your guides to what you keep, discard, or perhaps leave aside for consideration at another time. Consider adding something new and restorative to … read more

How to Create Safe Learning Environments

How to Create Safe Learning Environments

Posted on Dec 9, 2015

EducationWeek ~ December 9th, 2015 | A few weeks ago, a high school sophomore in South Carolina received national attention after being caught using her phone during math class. Social media was abuzz with outraged comments as the world witnessed on video a white male police officer flip the black female student in her desk and drag her to the front of the room. People were talking about how the student is yet another black victim of police brutality. People were talking about how she is a teenage girl who was assaulted by an adult male. People were talking about how this is yet another example of the mounting racial tensions in schools across the nation. We’d like to draw your attention to the classroom teacher. Over the past four years, our group, the Recognizing Excellence in Learning and Teaching Project, known as RELATE and funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, has taken an in-depth look at the most volatile of classrooms—those primarily serving students with emotional and behavioral disorders. These are the students least likely to graduate and most likely to enter the juvenile-justice system. Their teachers, we found, are also more likely to intervene on behalf of their students. Full Article … read more

GreatKids – Emotional Smarts

GreatKids – Emotional Smarts

Posted on Nov 18, 2015

“Children who develop the skills Emotional Intelligence are kinder, happier, healthier and more successful in life.” Belief in this statement lies at the heart of the recent collaboration between the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and GreatSchools, a nonprofit organization that provides parents with online ratings of over 200,000 schools and districts across the United States; reaching more than 50 million unique visitors in 2015 and accounting for over half of all U.S. Households with children, and nearly half of all U.S. based Kindergarten-12th grade teachers. Featured on GreatSchool’s GreatKid’s website, Emotional Smarts is a collection of tools designed to provide new parents and families with the resources necessary to help children develop emotional intelligence, and hone such vital life skills such as “resilience, confidence, gratitude, courage, empathy, and grit.” Through a series of video resources and other training materials, the “Emotional Smarts” initiative capitalizes on GreatSchool’s wide-reach, and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligences’ pioneering research on Emotional Intelligence to encourage families to understand both how and why Emotions Matter. For example, the Emotional Toolbox provides parents with recommendations for scientifically-based strategies and activities that can help them maneuver various parenting challenges that routinely erupt in households—related to discipline, friendships, sibling rivalry, and bullying. The Do You Feel Me section allows for families to explore universal human emotions together through the power of storytelling. In Caught Being Kind, hidden cameras reveal how students exposed to SEL techniques will interact with one another in spontaneous situations at school, without knowing they are being observed. Already, Emotional Smarts content has been pushed to 2 million GreatSchools.org visitors and newsletter subscribers, and has been promoted more than 18 million times through web, email, and social media outlets. In total, more than 350,000 unique visitors have engaged with the Emotional Smarts content on the GreatSchools.org website, 175,000 of which self-identify as parents. Most of the resources promoted on Emotional Smarts are based … read more

Talking to Students about the Paris Attacks

Talking to Students about the Paris Attacks

Posted on Nov 16, 2015

This past weekend, a series of terrorist attacks rocked Paris. As educators, we are all thinking about how to best to approach the subject of the Paris tragedy as our students start the school week, today.  Do we avoid the subject and shield them, especially those under five, from the discussion? Do we give them the basic facts to make sure they have accurate information on what occurred?  How do we allay their anxiety? How do we answer questions that we may not have the answers to and plague us as well. Questions like “Why did this happen.?” “Will this happen here now?” “Are we safe?” “Are our loved ones safe?”  Each of these questions brings up a lot of emotion  — for our students as well as for all of us. RULER classrooms have a ready tool for this conversation. We can use the Mood Meter to frame this difficult discussion and create a safe place to share for students to share their feelings and then harness the strength of the classroom community to identify coping skills and self-regulation strategies. First, use the Mood Meter to check-in with yourself.  How are YOU feeling about this tragic event? Where are you on the Mood Meter and what thoughts are going through your own head? Are you concerned that you use mass transportation getting to and from work and that frightens you? Are you anxious about your students asking question that you may not be able to answer? How will you help them deal with their anxiety when you can’t promise them they will be safe? This is an opportunity to check-in with yourself and get your own emotions under control before you begin a conversation with your students. We recommend identifying the strategies you use to regulate your ‘red’ emotions  –using these strategies will best prepare you for the conversation and serve as examples for your students. Some of … read more

Dena Simmons of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Presents TED Talk in New York City

Dena Simmons of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Presents TED Talk in New York City

Posted on Nov 12, 2015

On November 1st and 2nd, Dr. Dena Simmons presented at the inaugural TED Talks Live at the Town Hall Theater in New York City’s Theater district under the umbrella topic of “The Education Revolution.” Dena’s talk drew from her life experiences as a student, teacher, researcher, and activist, in an attempt to engage the audience in a discourse about race, power, and privilege in our nation’s education system. Dena put forth the belief that if educational initiatives for students are to be successful, these initiatives must address the history of racism and inequality that perpetuates an unsustainable cycle that disadvantages some students–mainly students of color. Further, she pushed the audience to consider the emotional danger students experience when they are forced to erase who they are in order to experience success at school. Dena currently works as the Director of Implementation at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, where she oversees education, training, and coaching initiatives at the Center as well as the scaling up of the RULER program, the Center’s approach to social and emotional learning. Photo Credit – Ryan Lash … read more

Seedlings Institute for School Leaders

Posted on Nov 11, 2015

The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, in partnership with the Seedlings Foundation, is excited to offer an opportunity for districts seeking to join the movement to build emotionally intelligent school communities.   The Seedlings Foundation supports programs that nourish the physical and mental health of children and families, and foster an educated and engaged citizenship. Since 2005, the Seedlings Educators Collaborative has provided professional development, ongoing support, and resources to educators from diverse school environments. In a supportive and actively engaging setting, educators forge ongoing relationships and community connections and leave with tools to support them throughout their careers. Paramount to this effort is providing a stimulating and nurturing environment, away from the day-to-day demands of the classroom. Seedlings educators spend time in an immersive and engaging professional development program that introduces them to educational resources they might not otherwise encounter and provides a network for sustaining the work. At the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, we know that for leaders, emotions drive the effectiveness of all daily interactions – with colleagues, parents, and students – and impact school climate and culture. For educators, emotions drive their effectiveness in creating positive classroom environments and fostering student learning. For students, emotions drive their ability to learn, make effective decisions, build relationships, and perform their best academically. Ultimately, transformational leadership at the district level greatly impacts the work of reaching students. By fusing the missions of Seedlings and the Center, we endeavor to enhance both transformational leadership and emotional intelligence skills and strategies through the Seedlings Institute for School Leaders. The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence offers this multi-day master class as a way to provide a foundation for understanding and implementing emotional intelligence as well as a space to reflect and recharge with like-minded leaders. The Seedlings Institute gives district-level team members the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to build emotional intelligence – the skills of recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and … read more