A systematic approach to teaching anything!
So, you know Social Emotional Learning is important. You understand what to do when your student throws a block; how to repair when you lose your cool. Parenting and educator blogs have given great strategies in singular situations - but you’re still not seeing your kiddo implement them independently?
That could be because you’re relying on incidental teaching. While extremely valuable, incidental teaching does not directly instruct skills beforehand
- only in the moment.
So you could have this luxurious cozy corner with visuals, music, blankets and SEL material but your students are still not using it independently. Right?
Enter Model-Lead-Test (MLT). A form of direct instruction mixed with scaffolding, it requires the learner to observe multiple examples of the target behavior (like the cozy corner being used) taught explicitly through modeling. This means, YOU have to go to that cozy corner!
Maybe you get frustrated during dinner time - announce to your kidlets “whoa! I’m frustrated. I’m going to take a break in the cozy chair!”
Do it several times.
Then, when your kiddos are beginning to escalate, go-there-with-them. Sit there with them. Label what you perceive them to be feeling and why. Let them get the feelings out, then process some strategies for moving beyond the moment. *I suggest asking them, “are you ready to move on from this feeling, or with this feeling?”
Feedback in this scenario is not, “good job! “It’s more so “wow, I see that your body is calmer and you are smiling now that you have used your cozy corner.” “Hey! You tried a new strategy for big feelings.”
It’s my belief that the expression of emotion coupled with the implementation of a strategy is automatically reinforcing for many learners.
Lastly, you test. You know your students triggers. You can be right there with them during the trigger - supporting from a point of safety and love - and see to what degree they utilize your strategy.
MLT is for teaching ANYTHING. From teeth brushing, to packing the backpack, to scribbling anger out of your body - it's versatile. Keep it FUN! Playful! Mutually reinforcing.
You can do this. I'm here if you want to go further.