The Importance of Teaching Students How to Manage Emotions From a Young Age

As educators, we don’t know what students go through. While we can keep an eye on them during the school day, we don’t have any control over what they go through at home. Some kids come from a broken household. Others have the responsibility of looking after a sibling. And, some even suffer from various forms of abuse.

Couple the above with the fact that school itself can be challenging from both an educational and emotional point of view means that students are likely to react in ways that may be difficult to cope with. From lashing out to violent behavior, these outbursts aren’t unusual.

With the above in mind, we’re going to have a closer look at the importance of teaching students how to manage emotions from a young age. We’ll also look at social-emotional learning and the benefits for both students and teachers.   

Managing Emotions and Social-Emotional Learning

When it comes to managing emotions, it’s first important to understand them. That’s where social-emotional learning comes in. There are now a wealth of studies that prove that there is a strong link between children’s emotions and their learning and academic performance.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) helps students understand and manage their emotions so that they can use positive ones to enhance their learning. It also helps them recognize when negative emotions are getting in the way of their learning process. These skills aren’t just good for academic achievement. They are skills that children can take with them into their adult lives thus allowing them to set themselves up for career success.

Social-emotional learning can help reduce classroom disruptions and teachers’ stress levels, as well as equip children with the skills they need to succeed in the future

The Benefits of Social-Emotional Learning

When it comes to social-emotional learning and managing emotions, there are various benefits to both students and teachers. Increased emotional intelligence allows students to better understand themselves, thus allowing them to better connect with others. It’s also the key to helping them understand different perspectives so that they can make responsible choices and fully understand the consequences of their actions.

Furthermore, teaching students how to manage their emotions can help improve student-teacher relationships. Teachers involved in the social-emotional learning process are more likely to act with empathy. In return, students will engage with them better during their own learning process. This mutual respect can lead to a more orderly classroom with fewer disruptions. As a result, teachers experience lower stress levels during their time at work, thus allowing them to better educate and support their children.

Teaching Students to Manage Emotions

There are various programs now in place that can help you, as an educator, teach your students how to better manage their emotions. But, in addition to these programs, there are some simple tools and strategies you can use. Here are some tips:

  • Encourage students to talk about their emotions

  • Always acknowledge and empathize with student emotions when you notice them

  • Make a visual plan of action that students can use when they feel a specific emotion

  • Help students identify their support system

  • Acknowledge brave behavior

In addition to these simple tips, make sure to always leverage all the resources available to you. For example, during her Ted talk, Olympia Della Flora talks about her experience leveraging peer influence and external entities to help students with their social-emotional learning process. Her school created a partnership with local colleges and other groups to gain access to people with experience in school psychology and social work.

By doing so, the school wasn't required to invest huge amounts of money into developing the SEL program. Instead, these entities and individuals gained access to real-life experience in the classroom and the children in her Ohio school got help from some of the highest level professionals in the region.

The Impact of Teaching Students How to Better Manage Emotions

Going back to the example highlighted above, Olympia Della Flora and her faculty managed to take the school from one of the lowest ratings of F to a C rating in just a few years. By taking the emotional development of their children seriously and helping them manage their emotions, they also saw growth in their reading and math scores. In fact, their scores far exceeded the one year of expected growth and they outscored many schools with the same demographic.

Moreover, social-emotional learning can help reduce classroom disruptions and teachers’ stress levels, as well as equip children with the skills they need to succeed in the future. By working with a team of professionals with the tools to help students address their emotions, you could give your children what they need to perform to the best of their ability inside and outside of school.