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Hind Louali Discusses How SEL Supports STEM Learning


Right from coding robots to 3D printing, STEM subjects can be exciting, challenging and intellectually stimulating. They can help prepare students for a variety of career paths, while equipping them with a range of important technical skills. Hind Louali French School of Austin - Ecole Jean-Jacques Rousseau points out that technical STEM subjects and concepts often benefit from the incorporation of social and emotional learning (SEL) strategies. SEL helps kids to express themselves, explore ideas and solve problems together, and hence can form the basis for teamwork they need in STEM learning.

Hind Louali sheds light on how SEL supports STEM learning

Social-emotional learning (SEL) helps students acquire the ability to manage emotions, feel and show empathy for others, maintain positive relationships as well as make responsible decisions both in and outside of the classroom. SEL can have a positive impact on school climate and safety, peer relationships, and even the skills, attitudes and academic achievement of the students. Specific benefits of SEL like improved problem-solving abilities and better self-motivation can help students to fare better in STEM subjects like math or computer science.

There are many complex challenges in STEM subjects that require students to think out of the box in order to find a solution to a specific problem. For example, in math, the educator may tell the class to apply a specific mathematical principle to work out an answer, but there can also be other times when the students must decide which principle will best lead them to the solution. In the latter case, the students have to use their problem-solving and critical thinking skills to identify the right math principle.

By enabling students to develop self-management skills, SEL can help them to hone their problem solving and critical thinking abilities.  Self-management basically teaches students to hone their ability of self-motivation and reach a level of emotional maturity that allows them to manage frustration. This would invariably lower the chances of having students give up on complex tasks and promote perseverance. 

Today many educators use the growth-mindset theory to improve problem-solving and critical thinking in students. A growth mindset is basically the belief that ability is something attainable through effort and hard work, rather than something innate. Students who accept that struggle and failure are simply a part of the learning process are more likely to persevere in the long run.

Hind Louali French School of Austin - Ecole Jean-Jacques Rousseau says that a huge aspect of SEL is assisting the students to develop positive behaviours during interactions with their peers. This can lead to the creation of a more enjoyable learning environment where students feel comfortable with one another.  Such an environment can positively impact the collaborative abilities of students during group projects which are pretty common in STEM subjects.

Integrating SEL into the curriculum helps foster social awareness and relationship skills. When students learn to recognize and empathize with the emotions of their peers during classroom activities, they are more likely to collaborate effectively, thereby minimizing the chances of conflicts and exclusion. Students with strong social awareness are better prepared to manage task delegation, participate in collaborative brainstorming, and offer constructive feedback on the ideas of their peers.

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