The Arts as a Vehicle for Social-Emotional Learning Through SEAL
The arts can have a powerful impact on students’ social and emotional well-being. What’s more is that educators can help students develop these skills right inside their classrooms no matter what subject they teach. In today’s world, many students are facing anxieties, depression, feelings of isolation and overall big emotions which can affect many aspects of their personal and school lives. Many have a hard time focusing on their work and being able to fully engage in classroom activities.
What if we could use the unique powers the arts have to help these students? Teachers would be better equipped to support their students’ overall well-being and help them become more engaged and well-rounded individuals!
What is SEAL: Social-Emotional Artistic Learning?
SEAL is a proven method of integrating the arts with social-emotional learning. It stands for Social-Emotional Artistic Learning and is a proactive approach to teaching and developing social and emotional skills through creative and artistic experiences in the classroom. Through the 3 Waves of SEAL, teachers learn exactly how they can bring these creative experiences into their classroom.
Energize Your Methods
Teachers are often asked to implement an SEL program that scripts lessons on how to help students develop their social and emotional skills. The problem is that many SEL programs provide isolated lessons that teachers need to find the time to teach.
Instead, our students need energized and integrated strategies that are embedded into the routines of a classroom, regardless of what grade or content you teach. And that’s something the arts can do!
For example, one embedded SEAL strategy teachers love is to use music to calm and focus the class. When done well, this quickly becomes a teacher favorite as the music chosen for a specific purpose can assist students as they are working. When the carefully chosen music plays, it helps students calm down and focus on their work.
Teaching students self-management strategies like this empowers them to thrive in the classroom. With each new SEAL strategy used in the classroom, students are more ready to transition into learning and engage in their work.
Activate Your Integrations
Once you have some creative routines set in place, it’s time to really cater SEAL to your class. In this Second Wave of SEAL, educators can activate their integrations as they couple an art form with a developing social-emotional skill such as empathy or resilience.
Instead of having students watch a video or answer questions about empathy, the arts give students creative experiences that will help them practice empathy as they work with others in the classroom. That’s like the difference between showing a 6-year-old a video about riding a bike and actually giving them a bike so that they can learn how to ride!
These unique SEAL lessons can also help promote empathy and build relationships inside of a classroom. Allowing students to have artistic experiences together has universally and historically been an amazing way to build community. Creating, listening to music, dancing, moving and performing together are all ways to connect with and learn about others.
In addition, these types of SEAL experiences naturally help students develop resilience as they go through the creative process. As students design, revise, share and reflect, they go through ups and downs, successes and challenges, conflicts and resolutions. When you activate students’ learning through the creative process, students practice what it means to be resilient and flexible.
Strengthen Your Mindset
It is vital for us as teachers to understand how important our own mindset is. This encompasses how teachers view their ever-evolving role in education both inside and outside their classrooms. Teachers deserve their own strategies on how to conduct their classroom to support students while dealing with stressful situations. That’s why the teacher is at the center of SEAL.
Self-care is a crucial part of this work and the arts should be a big part of that as well! Creative teachers need creative outlets, whether that involves painting in their own home studio, cooking an amazing meal for their family, joining a drama club or even going out dancing with friends. When teachers are attending to their own needs, their students feel more comfortable using the arts to care for themselves as well. This is a key component for empowered SEAL teachers.
SEAL is an effective method of integrating the arts into social-emotional learning. When teachers implement SEAL through these 3 Waves, they enhance students’ self-awareness, empathy for others and sense of community. Moreover, this approach can lead to more confidence, improved academic performance and lifelong learning skills for students.
If you want to learn more about SEAL: Social-Emotional Artistic Learning, go to teachSEAL.com to find resources and trainings that will help to facilitate your students’ holistic development.