Summer has just begun in the Northern Hemisphere and the solstice brought longer daylight for us to enjoy. This period of the year is so full of colors, fragrances and energy that invite to plan the future with new ideas and innovative approaches.

Social Emotional Learning can be one of the answers. Integrating the cognitive educational curriculum with self awareness, self management and self direction would transform next academic journey into a very deep experience, where both kids and educators would enrich each other.  How? iSEL (Introduction to Social Emotional Learning) is an amazing and free virtual course for educators, parents, and everyone working to help students learn optimally — more about this below!



Neuroscience: Emotion, Inspiration & Learning

Teachers well know that to enhance learning of their students, they have to provide engagement, curiosity, motivation. They have to be, a presence, a role model, feed them with some inspiration.  These emotional drivers, it turns out, are not just “nice to have.”  They are part of what makes learning actually happen.

Neuroscientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, during her amazing speech last year’s global Nexus EQ Conference at Harvard, explained that we have certain brain areas used for multiple purposes.  The brain areas triggered when we feel inspired by a story or a person are also tied to our very survival.  We embody the emotions we sense, we expand our learning strengthening brain fibers and we truly live the life of the person is inspiring us. In a sense, she said, we experience not just our own life, but others too — and this change us.

These insights remind me of this poem:

“I have walked through many lives,

some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray. …”

excerpt, The Layers, Stanley Kunitz

This process of inspiration, Immodino-Yang explains in her segment during the iSEL training, is at the neurobiological root of  learning.  The brain functions that allow students to learn ARE social brain functions, rooted in survival. Learning occurs when students connect emotionally with meaning — and with their teachers.

How To Add Social Emotional Learning

How can we do this practically? There are hundreds of answers in iSEL — experts and educators from around the world have contributed their insights, strategies, and methods make learning more productive by engaging emotions.

Please click here to download the iSEL brochure — and feel free to share it!

iSEL is a free online class with “faculty” of amazing experts including Daniel Goleman, Anabel Jensen, Roger Weissberg, Mary Helen Immordino Yang, Dan Siegel and many accomplished educators and experts from around the globe.  Participants in this project can collaborate with “pods” of teachers in the course or follow their own path in an independent way.

Next Start: Week of July 28

Register now for the iSEL project starting the week of July 28 and choose the slot that fits you to get involved! The next “round” of iSEL will begin in October.

We also invite you to be part of sharing iSEL.  Take the course yourself, then volunteer to be a “pod leader” with others — or bring your own group together for this fabulous learning experience.

Ilaria Boffa

Ilaria is a Program Manager supporting emotional intelligence in education.She's based in Italy and works on Six Seconds' global team.