Saturday, August 20, 2016

Social-Emotional Learning

According to Education Week Magazine, the "next big thing" in education is "Social-Emotional Learning" and 8 states have signed up to start developing and using this system with 11 more lined up to join in. What is "Social-Emotional Learning"? Well, it's SEL, of course. (What is it with TLA's --- three-letter acronyms?) Okay, SEL -- what is it?

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." That is, it is a way to make people nicer. They figure that making people nicer will provide better learning, so they want to teach your kids the five core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Through public-school education they want to teach your children to accurately recognize their own thoughts and emotions (Jer 17:9), to learn to regulate their own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors (Rom 3:12), to take the perspective of others with diverse backgrounds while understanding the ethical norms for behavior (Rom 8:8), to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups, and to make constructive and respectful choices (Eph 2:1-3).

Now, to be fair, the idea is that by making kids into better adjusted, better behaved, nicer people, they will be less of a conduct problem and better at learning. I think schooling from an earlier era when kids were better disciplined at home would actually bear this notion out. It's just that the idea is coming at you from a humanistic public school system that rejects God's evaluation of natural humans and ignores the problem of failed parenting, failed teaching, a completely failed social ethic. It starts with "people are basically good" or "neutral" at least, something the Bible disputes. And it sets out to "make a better human" because humans are good, just misguided. The problem with kids in school is not their sin nature; it's a lack of good teaching on being nice. They can fix that.

Just like the fact that we will not find salvation for America in a better presidential candidate, we will not produce better children by ignoring God's perspective and the problems of everyone else around and appealing to "self-awareness" or "relational skills". The plan is to make sinful kids feel better about themselves, a band-aid on a flesh-eating virus. America needs Jesus, a third "Great Awakening". School kids and parents and teachers and society all need Jesus. You'd think, living in a so-called "Christian nation", there would be enough genuine Christians around to demonstrate and declare the Gospel, at least to the nation. That's what is needed. We need to be diligent about making disciples instead of hoping to make sinners who feel better about themselves.

2 comments:

David said...

It's sad that the secular world keeps trying to accomplish what God does through salvation, without the actual process of God changing them. We are constantly hearing about how bad things are getting and that the options for correction are actually found in the Bible, while wholly ignoring the Bible.

Stan said...

I guess it's true. "We preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness." (1 Cor 1:23)