The inspirED Vision
It all began with student voice. As part of the Emotion Revolution, a collaboration between the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Facebook, and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, tens of thousands of high school students were asked how they felt in school and how they hoped to feel. The majority of students said they felt tired, stressed, and bored. However, when asked how they would like to feel, students said things like “happy,” “inspired,” and “respected”. This discrepancy between how students were actually feeling and how they wanted to feel was a call to action and the driving force behind the creation of inspirED.
The inspirED site provides SEL activities, tools, and a 5-step process designed by teens, educators, and SEL researchers and practitioners to empower students and educators to work together to create positive change in their schools and themselves.
Below are the top eight categories that came out of both this research and our review of the literature on positive youth development.
Activities are organized by the emotions that students said they would like to feel. Under each feeling, there are various engaging activities for teens and educators that you can use to help your students experience positive emotions, both in school and in life. Activities vary in duration from 10-minute exercises, to 1-hour lessons, to project-based activities.
The inspirED Approach
One goal of inspirED is to provide a process by which students and educators can work together to ignite positive school-wide change. The inspirED process includes 5 phases:
- Assess. Ask people in your school how they feel at school and what they think about various characteristics of your school with the inspirED School Climate Assessment. Ask all the adults and students in your school about their emotional experiences and opinions related to student voice as well as the relationships, conflict resolution, support for diversity, and other aspects of your school.
- Evaluate. Find out what they said. What do they think about how everyone gets along, solves conflict, and supports each other? You will receive an automatically generated report summarizing how everyone in your school feels. By analyzing the report, you can identify what’s going well and what are the challenges and opportunities in your school.
- Plan. Assemble an inspirED team of adults and students at your school. This team will meet regularly to develop and implement a plan of action for creating positive change in your school. To get you started, you will receive automatically generated suggestions for inspirED activities and projects based on your school’s report.
- Act. Set your plan into action! Using a combination of inspirED resources and other ideas from your school’s inspirED team, watch your plan for positive change become a reality.
- Reflect. How did your school’s plan for positive change turn out? What went well? What was a struggle? Share best practices with those in your school and others in the inspirED community. Record successes, challenges, and opportunities to inform similar plans in the years to come.
School Climate Assessmenti
School Starter Kiti
Activities and Resourcesi
Best Practice Sharingi
The Science behind Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), a nonprofit entity that advocates and provides leadership for high-quality SEL programming, identifies five core competencies associated with SEL: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management, and responsible decision making.
According to CASEL, SEL is “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
“Teen stress levels are at an all-time high, which is not surprising in a fast-paced society that is more complex than ever before. Helping children learn to navigate a complicated world calls for a new approach in education. The field of social and emotional learning answers that call by teaching students to embrace diversity and by inspiring all children to become the best that they can be. At CASEL, we are focused on collaborating with partners like Facebook and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence in order to build a caring and connected world that right now we can only imagine.” Roger P. Weissberg, PhD , Chief Knowledge Officer, CASEL.
Evidence-based approaches to SEL—such as RULER, developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence—are designed to integrate SEL in systematic and comprehensive ways within schools. A recent meta-analysis of SEL programs showed that a systematic process for promoting students’ social and emotional development is the common element among schools that report an increase in academic achievement, improved quality of relationships between teachers and students, and a decrease in problem behavior (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, and Schellinger, 2011).
For more than a decade, SEL has been reshaping the way children are taught in schools by promoting their social and emotional development in conjunction with academic lessons. In fact, in 2003, the State of Illinois passed the groundbreaking legislation, “Children’s Mental Health Public Act,” which required that schools provide SEL for all students, that all school districts develop policies to incorporate SEL, and that the Illinois State Board of Education develop and implement SEL standards.
inspirED School Climate Assessment
The climate of a school, or how it “feels” to everyone in it, is one of the most important influences on learning and positive youth development. It also impacts how adults in the school feel about their jobs and how they teach and interact with students. It’s a two-way street: how everyone feels in a school impacts how they act–how students learn and grow and how teachers teach. And, how students and teachers function and interact impacts how they feel.
The inspirED School Climate Assessment was created to provide a quick and easy way for students and staff in a school to learn about how everyone in their school feels–personally, how they are feeling emotionally, but also how they are feeling about different aspects of the school. Personalized school reports are generated automatically after people within the school complete the assessment.
Want to find out about the “feel” of your school? Enroll your school to take the inspirED School Climate Assessment to gauge how students and adults in your school feel and what they think about your school environment. Questions on the assessment ask about the quality of peer relationships, student voice, adult-student relationships, staff relationships, support for diversity, and conflict resolution in your school.