SEAL (Social Emotional Aspects of Learning) at Goldwyn School Ashford.
As many of us know both inside and outside of the world of education our ability to learn and our behaviour is heavily influenced by our emotional state or our happiness. We are also aware of the differences between children in terms of their capacity to understand and with the internal emotions, behaviours and understanding of the emotions of others. It is part of growing up and being an individual.
In order to help us support our students we use SEAL materials developed by DfES in Goldwyn School. Years 7, 8 and 9 attend a SEAL lesson once a week to enable them to explore and understand their emotions. Working from an explicit, structured SEAL framework we aim to help our students develop their social, emotional and behavioural skills. Such an approach can make a significant contribution to whole-school/setting provision for personal, social, health education and emotional development in the Secondary setting.
Various terms are used nationally and internationally to describe social and emotional aspects of learning (SEAL) including personal and social development, emotional literacy, emotional intelligence, and social and emotional competence and social, emotional and behavioural skills.
Within the materials there are five broad social and emotional aspects of learning:
These aspects are often considered to fall into two categories – the personal (e.g. self-awareness) and the interpersonal (e.g. social skills).
Within each of the social and emotional aspects of learning there are a number of individual skills. An early skill within the aspect of ‘empathy’, for example, would be to see something from someone else’s point of view – perhaps being able to see the ugly sisters’ point of view in Cinderella. In the ‘managing feelings’ aspect of learning, an early skill would be to be able to recognise and label a feeling and to be able to share it with another person, and a later skill would be to be able to use self-distraction or self-calming strategies in order to reduce its intensity.
Social, emotional and behavioural skills underlie almost every aspect of school, home and community life, including effective learning and getting on with other people. They are fundamental to school improvement. Where children have good skills in these areas, and are educated within an environment supportive to emotional health and well-being, they will be motivated to, and equipped to:
Most social, emotional and behavioural skills are developmental and change over time. For example, if we think about the experience of loss, we know that children’s capacity to manage the feelings involved, and the range of strategies at their disposal, will be very different in the early years than, for example, their experience at the age of 11. We cannot therefore ‘teach’ these skills as a one-off.
There is a need to revisit and develop the concepts, understanding and skills over time, building on what has been learned previously.
There are 7 themes that span across the school year each addressing key social and emotional aspects of learning. They are planned to coincide with different times of the school year however there is considerable flexibility in their use depending upon the needs of the school.
1. September/October New beginnings
2. November/December Getting on and falling out
3. One to two weeks in the autumn term (to coincide with national anti-bullying week in November)
Say no to bullying
4. January/February Going for goals!
5. February/March Good to be me
6. March/April Relationships
7. June/July Changes
We find at Goldwyn School Ashford that our students enjoy these lessons and use them as a place to speak about their own personal emotions and goals in life.