Eanes ISD

Middle School (Grades 6-8)

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Featured Tip

SEL Focus: Cultivating Empathy

Third Nine-Weeks Focus: Social-Awareness/Empathy

Empathy is a skill that can be taught, developed, and strengthened like a muscle. It is the ability to feel with and through another person creating an understanding that each person is a unique individual, and not a stereotype of race, gender, class, etc. Jamil Zaki, Stanford Professor, says “Empathy at a deep level is the understanding that someone else’s world is just as real as yours.” According to Daniel Goleman, empathy is part of our emotional intelligence and increasing children’s emotional intelligence supports behavioral and academic improvement. Our SEL focus for this nine weeks is social awareness/empathy.

The Making Caring Common project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education has the goal of teaching children to learn to care about others. They have provided “5 Tips for Cultivating Empathy” that families can use to support their children in learning to be empathetic. 

Modeling empathy through the treatment of your child and others teaches empathy. Children learn from watching the adults around them and from experiencing the empathy given to them. There are many ways we can show our children we are being empathetic. One way is to be aware of their physical and emotional needs. Other ways are respecting and accepting them for who they are, taking a genuine interest in their activities and actively listening when they are speaking. 

Our children watch how we treat the people around us. Children notice when we are engaging in a community service or contributing to the greater community. Some ways to model empathy to your children are welcoming the new family in the neighborhood or treating the people at the car wash with dignity and care. Modeling empathy with others, teaches our children to learn empathy. 

Teaching our children to be socially-aware, will not only help them learn to be empathetic but also help them learn to be happy contributing members of our community. 

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All Tips

Empathy is a skill that can be taught, developed, and strengthened like a muscle. It is the ability to feel with and through another person creating an understanding that each person is a unique individual, and not a stereotype of race, gender, class, etc... 

Dr. Leonard emphasized the importance of connecting with our children and talking “about ways to handle stress and to find healthy solutions when faced with adversity.” Self-Management is the ability to adjust and manage one’s behavior. It is an underpinning for resiliency. Self-Management/Resiliency is the Eanes Independent School District focus for the second nine weeks. 

As responsible parents, educators and leaders, it is our obligation to try to model and teach healthy relationship skills. Teaching tolerance and encouraging our children to develop good relationships with others who may not share their exact values or beliefs is critical to their development and success. One way to help our children is to “seize teachable moments” when reading a book or watching TV...

Dr. Leonard has stressed the importance of creating a safe learning environment for all children - an environment that fosters respecting all, caring for each other, communicating in a civil manner, and listening well while always being kind. Cultivating kindness is part of becoming socially aware and of learning to be empathetic...

Teaching our youth resilience can be equated to the metaphor of a tree. Trees need things from their environment to grow healthy and strong just as our youth depend on their environment to develop and mature. Self-Awareness makes it possible for teens to make decisions, plan for the future and understand their own emotions...

As we begin the 2018-2019 school year, students are getting to know new teachers and new classmates. As parents and educators, our wish is for our teens to build strong positive relationships with the adults and peers they encounter. Social and emotional learning (SEL) helps students...

One way to support your teen in growing into a successful adult is to teach responsible decision making.

Empathy is being able to understand and value someone else’s perspective and having compassion for others even when they are different from ourselves.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) focus highlights self-awareness and self-management. Educating teens about the mindfulness research and the benefits of mindfulness is a way to support teens in developing their own mindful practice. Building autonomy, competence, and connection with our kids develops self-reliant, competent and resilient adults.​​​​​​​

One way to help middle school students learn social skills and relationship-building abilities is to talk about first impressions.

When we “model empathetic behavior” by talking through how we are interpreting and considering the perspective of others, we are helping our teens develop empathy skills.

Helping our teens learn healthy ways to deal with adversity and become resilient is part of our role and responsibility as parents.

Supporting teens in taking acceptable risks and experiencing the natural consequences of their choices allows them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and errors of judgement.

In order to help your Chap practice better self-regulation skills and become more self-aware, "discuss ways to prioritize and sequence" electronic communication.

"The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier."

Children learn self-management skills and resiliency by having the opportunity to think for themselves.


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