In April, 100 teachers attended a social and emotional learning workshop hosted by UNH professional development and training (PD&T) at the organization’s new location in Carroll County. Based in Durham, Portsmouth and Manchester, PD&T has recently expanded its geographical reach to meet high demand for its workshop offerings. The sold-out April event in North Conway inspired two new workshops for educators that will be held at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort this fall.
“It was wonderful to connect with teachers in another part of the state to bring them relevant and innovative content from one of our most popular featured speakers,” says Dawn Tobin, program manager for PD&T’s education and social work courses.
Social and emotional learning (SEL) skills help students become self-aware, manage emotions, build relationships and make responsible decisions. Helene Anzalone of the New Hampshire Department of Education Bureau of Student Wellness was one of the attendees who felt the workshop helped provide strategic approaches to support the many dimensions of wellness. “Student wellness recognizes that there are several factors that impact a student’s academic attainment. It is an approach that focuses on supporting the whole child,” she says.
Workshop instructor Mike Anderson explains that although teachers have known the importance of developing strong SEL skills, the recent overemphasis on standardized testing has made it difficult to prioritize those skills.
“In my work with teachers and schools, I help educators understand the interconnection of social and emotional skills and academic work,” he says. “Once teachers understand that many SEL skills are required as a part of academic tasks—many are even integrated into academic standards—we can then explore practical strategies for weaving the teaching of these SEL skills right into academic lessons and activities. SEL is no longer ‘something else to do.’ It’s an integral part of setting students up for success with daily academic work.”
What part of the workshop did you find most valuable?
"Interacting with other participants, seeing ideas put into action."
"All activities were adaptable for all grade levels."
"Discussions with other people in the room. The instructor really encouraged people to mingle and seek out people from other schools and groups."