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More on SEL in D60

What is SEL (Social Emotional Learning)?

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
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This is an acronym for the principles of Kagan cooperative learning. 
They are designed to ensure students are engaged equally and as much as possible (versus group work in which students can be often disengaged or rely on others to do the work).  The acronym stands for:

P: positive interdependence:
  • students working together productively and positively---we both need to be successful in order for the group to be successful)
  • team goals and team celebrations
I: individual accountability
  • students are accountable to a partner, team, the class, and/or the teacher. This is different than group work where students can often “hide.” One way teachers are ensuring this occurs is by assigning roles to students within their teams. The teacher asks a question, gives adequate think time for all, and then randomly chooses a student to share with their partner and/or team.  All students know they will have the opportunity to share and talk, rather than the teacher calling on raised hands like in a traditional classroom.

  • A Kagan structure called “numbered heads together” really highlights this principle. Amy Simon, a 4th grade teacher, uses numbered heads together in her ELA class. In this structure, students respond to a question independently.  Then, they are given time to discuss all of their answers as a team and then report one common answer to the rest of the class.
E: Equal Participation:
  • All of the structures ensure that students participate equally. This is done through the use of timers and avoiding the traditional approach of calling on students with their hands raised.
  • One of the Kagan structures that highlights this is called Timed Pair Share. Students are given a topic to discuss with their partner. They are then allowed think time.  When the teacher says go, one student begins talking for a certain amount of time (usually 30 sec to 1 min). The other partner’s job is to listen and/or “coach.” When the timer rings, partners switch roles; the other student has the opportunity to respond to the question for the same amount of time. 
S: Simultaneous interaction:
  • The purpose of simultaneous interaction is to get more students active and engaged at the same time. Traditionally, the teacher has been the most active participant, talking more than the students in a typical question-answer format. However, the “S” principle really highlights the fact that students are in teams and groups that are constantly interacting with each other in their small groups so that we can avoid the “ping pong” of Teacher-student teacher-student question-answer format. 
  • A Kagan structure that highlights this principle is called round robin. First, the teacher provides a question or topic to students. Next, all students are given think time. The teacher then randomly chooses the student that will go first within the team. That student discusses his/her thoughts with the group. Then, the next student shares followed by the third and fourth member of the team.  Students share their thoughts with each other rather than raising their hands to answer the teacher’s question.

  • Maercker teachers participated in this structure at a staff meeting earlier in the year, in which we were discussing visuals that represented the district’s vision for 2019-2020.