Published on November 27, 2014
2 S.E.L^4: INTEGRATING SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING INTO THE CLASSROOM with A HOLISTIC LENS LILLIAN KIRK With the steady rise of High-Stakes Testing since the 1990’s, the American education system has pushed strongly in a direction that has created a complete void for students in community and emotional development. Now more than ever, learners are treated to a conveyor belt style of learning which leaves them with under-developed self-awareness and problem solving skills. An integrated Social and Emotional Learning curriculum seeks to fill this hole, however there have been conflicting advocates for these ideas and the goals have been muddled. To reinvigorate the positive aspects of these concepts, the holistic ideas of Steven Foster and Meredith Little as presented in their book The Four Shields: The Initiatory Seasons of Human Nature could be used as a lens to setting up a classroom which caters to the learner as a whole and thereby creating insight and more personal understanding of themselves, their peers, your subject, and the world around them. What’s the Big Deal? To understand how the classroom can change, we have to first examine its current state. What ideals are in play when a vast majority of educators believe the best way to inform their population of students is through a lecture style classroom? In the modern day, the main contributor to the shift in the United State’s educational climate and can be traced in to legislation reflecting international competition that greatly influence teacher practice. Most effectively, the increase in Standardized Testing for public schools can be looked to as a prime example of this kind of legislature.