Maker Education and Social-Emotional Development
Planning educational activities that incorporate social-emotional learning has broad benefits. Research shows that SEL can have a positive impact on school climate and promote a host of academic, social, and emotional benefits for students. Durlak, Weissberg et al.’s recent meta-analysis of 213 rigorous studies of SEL in schools indicates that students receiving quality SEL instruction demonstrated:
- better academic performance: achievement scores an average of 11 percentile points higher than students who did not receive SEL instruction;
- improved attitudes and behaviors: greater motivation to learn, deeper commitment to school, increased time devoted to schoolwork, and better classroom behavior;
- fewer negative behaviors: decreased disruptive class behavior, noncompliance, aggression, delinquent acts, and disciplinary referrals; and
- reduced emotional distress: fewer reports of student depression, anxiety, stress, and social withdrawal. (http://www.casel.org/social-and-emotional-learning/outcomes/)
Daniel Goleman and CASEL has identified five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective, and behavioral competencies:
- Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.
- Self-management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.
- Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
- Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.
- Responsible decision making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others. (http://www.casel.org/social-and-emotional-learning/core-competencies)
Maker Education and Social Emotional Learning
Maker education, when planned around skills acquisition, can enhance social-emotional development.
Self-Awareness: Making in all its forms requires a full range of skills including cognitive, physical, and affective skills. Given this need for multiple and diverse skill set, effective and successful making comes from an accurate assessment of one’s strengths and limitations as well as having optimism and confidence that challenges can be overcome within the making process. Example questions related to self-awareness and making include:
- What strategies am I using to increase my awareness of my emotions and how they influence my performance during the making-related tasks?
- What are my strengths given this particular making task?
- What are my limitations and how can I use my strengths to overcome them?
Self-Management: Making, especially making something new, often includes developing goals on the fly, revising those goals, and managing frustrations as the maker works through and learns new skills, processes, and knowledge related to that make. Example questions related to self-management and making include:
- What processes am I using to develop, assess, and revise my goals while making?
- What strategies am I using to manage any frustrations or failures that are occurring during making my project?
Social awareness: A key area of social awareness is that of empathy – good listening and understanding the perspective of others. For many, design thinking goes hand-in-hand with the maker movement and maker education. Not all making is about attempting to design solutions to community and world problems, but building in that aspect has the potential to create more meaningful maker projects.
Making is a fantastic way to engage many students, but it’s only the first step toward an even greater revolution. The future of education cannot be about giving students the skills to fill jobs; it must be about giving them the skills to create jobs. This requires more than technical skills, it requires empathy, context and innovation. The heart of innovation is not technology, but people. Great innovators are able to deeply understand human needs and create useful solutions. Innovation simply requires empathy and experimentation. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/singularity/2014/07/29/beyond-the-maker-movement-how-the-changemakers-are-the-future-of-education/#328fd30c3b84)
Some example projects of making with useful solutions include:
- 13-year-old invents Lego Braille printer
- A Global Network Of Passionate Volunteers Using 3D Printing To Give The World A “Helping Hand.”
Sample assessment questions for social awareness and making include:
- What strategies am I using to find out the perspectives and ideas of potential users of my project?
- How am I insuring that I am addressing the needs of diverse population of potential users of my project?
Relationship skills: The power of being a maker is amplified when one works collaboratively on projects, gets help from others, and shares findings with others. Example self-assessment questions for relationship skills and making include:
- How am I using others to help me with my project?
- How are my peers and I collaborating ?
- Am I asking for help if and when I get stuck making my project?
- How am I sharing my ideas with others?
Responsible decision making: Responsible decision making includes considering how one’s decisions surrounding making: (1) affects the safety of oneself and one’s peers, (2) is respectful of the rights of others, and (3) is done with the understanding of the possible of larger consequences for self and others.
- What am I doing to keep my peers and me physically safe during the making of my project?
- How am I making decisions that draw upon my own and my peers’ creativity, innovation, and insights?
- What are the consequences of my actions on my peers and me during making my project?
- What past projects are informing my decisions for this project?
- How am I considering the humanitarian and ethical ramifications or consequences of my project?
The following infographic lists all of these questions. Questions should be selected and presented based of the types of maker projects, the goals of the maker projects, and the age of the makers.
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