Social Emotional Learning & The Magic of Dance – Part III

Social Emotional Learning & The Magic of Dance – 

Part III

SEL is an important intervention that contributes to a person’s cognitive development and mental health from childhood into adulthood.  In this 4-part series, we have defined Social Emotional Learning (see Part I), and examined the importance of developing emotional skills from childhood into adulthood (see Part II). In this post, we will explore the importance of developing pro-social skills alongside emotional skills.

Relational/prosocial skills:  Childhood into adulthood

Relational/prosocial skills continue into adulthood.  It doesn’t matter if someone is extroverted, introverted, or somewhere in between.   Humans are fairly social creatures compared to other animals.  Relational and prosocial skills ask the question, but how can we interact with others in the most efficient way possible?

Two keys to effective social skills: 

  1. Knowing how to problem solve. Problem solving is essential to having successful relationships both at work and at home.  Whether it’s compromising with a significant other, compromising with friends on which movie to see, or figuring out who goes down the cool slide first during recess, problem solving skills are needed at all stages of life.
  1. Having a healthy relationship. Relationships are not just romantic. They are the steady interactions we have with our family members, best friend, teachers, co-workers, supervisor, etc. Being able to develop and nurture all of these kinds of relationships is key to mental health.

What goes into a healthy relationship?

Many aspects go into a healthy relationship, but to name a few:  reciprocal communications (A.K.A. listening to the other person and not waiting to talk that person’s ears off), and having healthy boundaries.  Healthy boundaries look different for many people, but the base of it is knowing when to say no to things we are not OK with.  On the opposite side, we also need to be aware of what ARE we OK with in relationships and how to express these nuances to people.

Overall brain development

Schools promote emotional and social intelligence, in addition to other cognitive development, because success in these domains starts in childhood and continues to develop into adulthood.  It is not surprising that some schools try to incorporate SEL even in high school, but it doesn’t stop there.  An overwhelming amount of research suggests childhood/adolescent development in the brain actually doesn’t finish until the mid-20’s in humans.

CONTINUE TO PART IV: In the concluding post, we explore the power of a school dance program as an intervention that contributes to a person’s cognitive development and mental health from childhood into adulthood.

Partner dancing intuitively teaches social emotional learning skills, and it’s fun too!  Check out Dancing with Classfor more information on our innovative approach to SEL.

For classrooms anywhere: check out EduMotion: SEL Journeys , an experiential learning for  classrooms around the world.

Other Resources:

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