Teaching Students Compassion through Social Emotional Learning in Classroom
Bullying is a common part of student life for most children. What is the reason behind such behavior? Some teachers attending an SEL Teaching workshop based on bullying in schools shared their personal experiences and said, ‘Children can sometimes be so cruel.’
However, this is not entirely true that children do not share a sense of compassion for others around them. There has been an occurrence where two students donated more than one year’s worth of savings to an Animal welfare fund.
So, which case is more applicable to today’s children? Are children compassionate, or should we assume they are cruel and bullies?
Nurture Compassion in Young Children
Teachers and parents should recognize how they can teach children to be more compassionate and kind toward others. It is proven by research that humans are born with a strong intuition of compassion and kindness. Social Emotional Learning in Classroom can help cultivate a sense of understanding during the early years of childhood.
The best time to introduce your children to SEL teaching is during their early years- the time from their birth to adolescence. Children’s brains exhibit maximum learning capacity or neuroplasticity in the early years. Therefore, teachers and students consider these years the perfect time to implement Social Emotional Learning in Classroom.
The Right Approach to Teach Compassion and Kindness to Children
Children learn the best when they engage themselves actively in an activity. First-hand experience and observing the acts of kindness and compassion performed by teachers and parents can motivate children to learn such traits. It is one of the most basic approaches to nurturing a kind and compassionate mindset in your children.
The following SEL teaching approaches can allow you to include children in acts of compassion and kindness so they can build a more compassionate world for tomorrow.
- SEL Classes must encourage children to play with friends from all communities. It allows them to learn and understand other individuals’ different points of view and needs, which assists in their overall development. Since children always take an interest in stories, SEL in Classrooms can introduce them to age-appropriate inspirational stories about kindness and compassion. Hence, they learn to be more kind to themselves and others.
- Young children tend to bond better with nature and animals. Thus, offering opportunities to connect with animals and nature via SEL Classes can easily teach them the act of kindness and compassion. You can assign them daily duties like feeding animals or filling up bird feeders and water pots. This approach will not only develop a sense of responsibility in them, but they will also learn how to show a passion for kindness towards animals. SEL in Classrooms can teach children to connect with nature when they are involved in taking care of plants and watering them daily.
- Have your children spend more time with elders, family, and community as a part of SEL learning. SEL Classes can teach children to be more open with people around them. Teach them to take part in small chores, play with their siblings, sing songs together, and do other small acts that promote kindness.
- Social Emotional Learning in Classroom tells you to complement the acts of kindness and compassion that children display throughout the day. That acknowledgment goes a long way in encouraging young children to adhere to acts of kindness and compassion. However, first you need to learn how to distinguish between their feelings of helping and feeling of pity. Children would not always be able to express their feelings verbally. You need to look for verbal and non-verbal cues and help them understand their feelings and responses to situations.
As a teacher or parent, it is necessary to understand that different SEL skills education are interrelated. When you implement SEL in Classrooms for students to one competency, you also help them develop other relevant skills. Explore the UNESCO MGIEP course “SEL for Classrooms” if you wish to learn more about nurturing SEL competencies in young children, such as empathy, mindfulness, compassion, and critical thinking, through classroom activities. The course offers teachers the tools and resources to conduct SEL activities in the classroom and nurture SEL competencies among students.