As teachers prepare to head back to school this year, it is valuable to prepare for the level of trauma that individual teachers may be called upon to hold. The Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center indicates that trauma “results from exposure to an incident or series of events that are emotionally disturbing or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being.” From the economic strain and complex traumas induced by the COVID-19 pandemic to those resulting from racist violence, students and teachers are returning to the classroom with a heavy emotional load. With all that educators will be asked help students face, it is a great time to cultivate a strong foundation of social-emotional learning (SEL) and trauma-informed teaching methodology.
From left to right: Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, Frank Stebbins, and Dr. Hank Kaplowitz.
In a recent interview, I spoke with acclaimed educator Frank Stebbins about his path to teaching, unique approaches in the classroom, and how Facing History has been instrumental in his development as an educator. Stebbins was recently named the 2019 Hank Kaplowitz Outstanding Human Rights Educator of the Year by the Human Rights Institute at Kean University.
Educators often talk about “student well-being,” but we rarely define the term. We know we want more for our students than just academic achievement, but most of us struggle to articulate a vision for what that more looks like, and how to work toward it.
Can you practice being more empathetic—that is, the ability to sincerely understand and share someone else’s feelings? Jane McGonigal, world-renowned game designer and Director of Game Research and Development for the Institute for the Future, says you can. And she can tell you how.
From November 13-14, Facing History and Institute for the Future will virtually gather secondary school students, educators, and community members from around the world to play Face the Future: A Game About the Future of Empathy. Set in 2026, the game invites us to think about what empathy might look like—and how that future will impact the choices we make today. Read more from Jane McGonigal, world-renowned game designer and Director of Games Research and Development at the Institute for the Future, about why you should care about imagining the future.
Facing History was recently recommended as a proven social-emotional learning (SEL) program. Out of 400 nominations, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) chose Facing History and eight other approaches to include in its new guide to effective middle and high school social and emotional learning programs. Only Facing History and one other program were chosen in both the middle and high school categories.
Through SEL, students acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.