The practice of mindfulness has become incredibly popular in schools. Mindfulness works by creating an environment for learning and allowing for whole-child development of skills such as self-regulation, focus, and empathy. Many schools also include a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) programme to assist teachers in creating a positive classroom environment and to communicate school-wide behavior expectations. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL programs should support the development of five key skills: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.
There is no question that the technological age has changed all aspects of our lives: our constant need to check social media, scroll through our emails and post our whereabouts is almost becoming an obsession. Initially, findings discovered that this phenomenon was mostly prevalent amongst teenagers, however recent research has revealed that middle-aged women too have succumbed to the technological age, perhaps in a bid to ‘keep-up’ with their offspring, or maybe a way to while away a little ‘down time’ – a release from the humdrum of ‘normality’.
While classroom education continues to focus on academics, there is too-little emphasis on healthy emotional development in an era where we need it more than ever before. In fact, the State of the Heart 2016 study found that emotional intelligence continues to decline globally. What’s more, since 2014, there has been a decline in maintaining emotional balance (-3.3 percent), self-motivation (-2.9 percent), and connecting compassionately with others (-2.4 percent). The numbers don’t lie, it’s clear that if we want to live in a more compassionate world, then society needs to place a higher emphasis on emotional development.
With annual awareness campaigns such as Children’s Mental Health Week and Mental Health Awareness Week, many schools and adults are focusing their attention on the wellbeing of pupils and teaching them how best to convey emotions. However, this isn’t something which should be actioned momentarily; it’s an important issue, and one that must be addressed all-year round.