- Los Angeles-based middle school English teacher Robert Ward writes for Edutopia that encouraging students to embrace a benefit mindset centered on altruism and positivity impacts both academic achievement and social-emotional development.
- Four things educators can do to promote this mindset include encouraging inclusion by having students make sure none of their peers sit alone at lunch, having them share personal experiences to strengthen peer support, asking them to identify things in the classroom and school that could benefit from actionable change, and having them write and read aloud reports about good deeds they've seen in the school building.
- Ultimately, Ward writes, this approach produces students who are ready to expand the same positive outlook and actions to their community at large.
Among the central tenets of social-emotional learning are instilling a sense of compassion and empathy in students. While those efforts ultimately facilitate employers' demands for better collaboration skills among graduates, they also, just as importantly, produce better community-minded citizens.
While K-12 education is partially about preparing young people for success in the workforce and/or postsecondary education, preparing students for productive civic engagement is equally important. Graduates who recognize where change is needed and understand how to effectively act to bring about positive results can create a better world for their neighbors and themselves in both their communities and careers.