Kids Before Content provides the context for educators to develop their own and their students’ social-emotional learning (SEL) competencies. The SEL competencies include self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness. Educators are provided the resources they need to build up their own SEL skills first, and then their students through this guide. There are suggestions for building professional learning communities and connecting with other like-minded educators who would like to transform the culture of their schools one educator and one student at a time. The book includes information for school leaders to build SEL connections in their schools. With SEL competencies, educators can more readily reach their students, which makes teaching content easier. If educators understand how to use CASEL’s SEL competencies to address SEL in the classroom for themselves and their students, both students and teachers are better served.
Renee G. Carr, EdD has been working in the field of education since 2007. Dr. Carr has a history of working in international and domestic education and exchange.
Part I: Nurturing Self-Awareness for Educators and Students
Chapter 1: Strengthening Self-Awareness for Educators
Chapter 2: Strengthening Self-Awareness for Students
Part II: Fostering Self-Management for Educators and Students
Chapter 3: Developing Self-Management for Educators
Chapter 4: Developing Self-Management for Students
Part III: Enhancing Responsible Decision-Making for Educators and Students
Chapter 5: Strengthening Responsible Decision-Making for Educators
Chapter 6: Strengthening Responsible Decision-Making for Students
Part IV: Supporting Relationship Skills for Educators and Students
Chapter 7: Encouraging Relationship Skills for Educators
Chapter 8: Encouraging Relationship Skills for Students
Part V: Encouraging Social Awareness for Educators and Students
Chapter 9: Developing Social Awareness for Educators
Chapter 10: Developing Social Awareness for Students
Part VI: The Development of SEL Competencies for Educators and Students
Chapter 11: SEL Professional Learning Communities
Chapter 12: SEL Implications for School Leaders
Chapter 13: SEL Competencies for Educators and Students
About the Author
Dr. Carr’s Kids Before Content provides practical advice and research behind every social-emotional learning competency for educators. I enjoyed reading her approach for educators to improve our well-being first and then our students’ well-being. There are few times when educators are considered first in the school culture shift to using SEL. Arguably, educators are the first link to improving SEL in their students. If educators do not have the SEL skills to help their students develop them, then they cannot. I now have the tools I need to address SEL first for myself, and then for my students. I look forward to using these suggestions in my classroom.
As I was reading Kids Before Content, I discovered how teachers and school staff can enhance their own SEL competencies, and then improve these competencies in their students. Kids Before Content guides teachers to enhance their own SEL or emotional intelligence. SEL provides teachers an opportunity to effectively connect with each other and with their students. A focus on an SEL culture makes it easier to reach students where they are, and then be able to teach the content. When SEL competencies are the focus for everyone, all are better prepared for learning.
Dr. Carr’s book is a framework about incorporating much needed, social-emotional lessons into the everyday classroom. The book provides ideas for teaching and making connections with students through personal sharing, including displaying some vulnerability. At the end of every chapter, there are questions for reflection, as well as answers to contemplate. While educators may not have control over how a district or school is run, they do have control over what can be taught in the classroom. Feeling empathy and modeling empathy to our students, and even administrators, are ways in which we can create a better world for future generations. As Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
8/25/2023, The CharacterStrong Podcast: