For systemic and sustainable change to occur in schools, it is paramount that professional training programs for future teachers, educational leaders, and school counselors incorporate skills development in children's social-emotional learning (SEL) and character development (CD), as well as how to assess and address school culture and climate.
Joanne MacLennan, Ed.D., an adjunct faculty member in the CSE Psychology and Teacher Education programs and our SEL and CD Specialist, plays the lead role in working with faculty to infuse this skills development at CSE.
The SEL and CD curriculum focuses on teaching pre-service teachers and school counselors how to create a positive classroom climate, engage students' voice in the classroom, help students practice social and emotional skills, and instruct students via cooperative learning strategies.
The focus for future school leaders is on teaching school administrators how to create a school climate characterized by a commitment to inspiring all students' learning, helping all students see pathways to college and/or careers, and creating a respectful culture and climate in the school and/or district-wide. This work flows both from the Mission of CSE and the servant leadership philosophy that is the underpinning of CSE's Educational Leadership program.
We hope to teach future teachers, school counselors and school leaders how to model social-emotional competencies and positive character in their interactions with students and other professionals in and out of the classroom. They learn that the relationship that they establish and maintain with students is the single most important influence they can have on student success, for good or for ill. The importance of relationship building cannot be over-stated and is supported by abundant evidence.