Social Emotional Learning: An alternative for music education
The coronavirus pandemic has made all of us shift to online life for school and for work. Shifts to online learning impact arts education as well, turning this moment in "a unique opportunity for students and teachers to develop new strategies for teaching and learning and to reflect and grow as musicians and people.," as the School Band & Orchestra magazine writes.
An interesting educational strategy and approach to the current environment is social emotional learning:
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a construct being implemented across the globe intended to provide students with the skills to confront challenges by being self-aware, socially-aware, and to make responsible decisions. Broad SEL instruction often takes the form of reflection, discussion, and lecture. Students can view this as forced, formulaic, and scripted. For SEL to be most effective, it needs to be embedded in the curriculum. Music teachers can do this in a much more authentic way—through music. Music students can become self-reliant and resilient in the process.
The article provides examples to this approach and ways to implement it. The pandemic invites all of us to consider ways in which we can empower each other, and this type of learning approach can provide a different lens to teaching and learning.
Times of great challenge also create moments for advancement. Necessity truly is the mother of invention. As we come together as a broader nation to deal with this once-in-a-century public health crisis we can also reimagine how we teach and learn. How we encourage and how we empower individual learning. How we grow within ourselves and how we encourage the growth of our students.