There is a lot of excitement and giggling as we enter a classroom. There are children trying out mouse masks. We see that there is a role play of a cat and mouse going on. When we quiz them, the children share their pearls of wisdom, “when we are out, we should listen attentively, see attentively and do things attentively”. We nod our heads in agreement, smiling and walk out.
We walk into another classroom and we see colourful charts on display. When we look into them there are a lot of scenes painted by children that show kindness, compassion. Children also share acts of kindness that they experienced with their friends.
These are some of the wonderful experiences that the SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) journey has been taking the Teachers and students through in their classrooms. Teachers have been able to observe a lot of positive changes in students since implementing SEL. Many students who usually didn’t open up in class participated actively in SEL Roleplays, activities. Teachers were able to bring out their hidden talents through SEL. Students were able to resolve conflicts more peacefully among themselves. They exhibited better cohesiveness, empathy, compassion towards fellow students and others in school.
Teachers also felt that they were able to empathise with students better now, students were more comfortable sharing their views, issues with them. Some schools had SEL classes on Saturdays to increase attendance.
The focus was to imbibe SEL into the Classroom Culture. This included setting up Class room Rules, Behaviour charts, Gratitude walls etc by students. All these activities have helped the students understand their responsibilities better, reflect upon their behaviour and contribute effectively to creating a better environment in their classrooms.
We implemented SEL in 12 low income schools this year which included both primary and secondary schools. There were both Year 1 and Year 2 Schools. Workshops were conducted for the Teachers. Totally 72 Teachers and 2,230 Students have been impacted through this Program.
Assessments could be completed only in 50 percent of the schools due to the covid situation and they have shown an overall improvement of 50 -60 percent in the SEL parameters.
Overall this year has been a great learning experience for us at Bhumi and the schools we worked with. The current Covid situation has made us realise the importance of Social and Emotional Learning in students’, Teachers’ and all our lives. We are all the more motivated to take SEL to more Schools this year and create deeper impacts on Students, Teachers and schools paving the way for a better future, one that is filled with more Compassionate, Empathetic and Emotionally balanced people.
WordSmith: Ramya Sundaram (Changedriver)
Bhumi’s School Transformation Programme supports low-income schools on their journey to becoming exemplary schools in their communities. Currently ongoing in 15 schools across Chennai, and supported by corporates like Qualcomm, FLEX, Greenergy, SEW Eurodrive, the programme also focuses on building the capacities of the teachers for improved content delivery.