Making SEL More Relevant to Teenagers

Neeta Das

Principal, Lakshya International School, Nagda, Ujjain, M.P.

These days, teenagers are clueless about expressing their feelings, developing positive relationships, and maintaining a balanced student life. Our community, which is mainly driven by modernization and technology, has made them so mechanical that they hardly consider the basics.

At home, school and in society, children’s social-emotional development is connected with better results. The growing cry of disorganised behaviour in especially teenagers is an outcome of imbalance in their social and emotional functioning.

Social and Emotional Skills are hence, centrally connected to the holistic growth of teenagers. Both skills are necessary input for successful and rewarding interpersonal relationships. It comes as no surprise that as the thoughts, emotions, and identities of young students’ become complex, and so does their social and emotional behaviour.

Truth, Honesty, and Integrity as emotional skills are some crucial skills that have become almost obsolete for students. Developing these skills in students is as important as imparting education. Among all the attributes, honesty is one of the crucial possessions that one must have. Instilling such a virtue is essential for the young mass. Honesty does not come naturally, but one has to realize as to why he/she must be honest. We, as responsible adults and teachers, need to take up this responsibility and help children shape their character.

As educators, we must set behavioural expectations for our children. Often, children try to get away from trouble by telling lies. It is, therefore, the duty of the parents and teachers to make them understand that lies can save them for a while but will land them in trouble in the long run. On the other hand, speaking the truth will give them the courage to face the problem and to come up with a solution to overcome it.

One of the most effective ways is to show your child what you expect and express your gratitude and happiness when they stand up for it. Honesty starts at home and thus parents, teachers, and even society serve as the key role models for children, from where they attain the primary moral education and values.

We live in an age where we find quick and easy solutions even if it involves some unethical practices. Admittedly, the original issues that lead to dishonesty are often complicated and multidimensional. Children are not born with integrity or with skills such as honesty, honour, respect, authenticity, social responsibility, and courage.

A school should not just involve students to learn, read and write; it should be a place where they develop the skills of getting along with their teachers and peers through good behaviour. It should be a place where students are taught the skills to interact with others politely.

Empathy, one of the vital skills, is often missing in not only students but also adults. No one is willing to understand others’ pain and feelings. We are so engrossed in our materialistic world that we do not want to understand others.

Teens must also learn to balance multiple relationships that compete for their time, energy, and attention. As educators, we must introduce them to proper greetings. We must teach them how their cordial and friendly greetings can put others at ease and develop a positive bonding with them.

We must teach our students about making proper eye contact while talking with others. Also, students should be advised to be good listeners. The more attentively they listen, the better they can analyze and come out with productive outputs.

Other skills such as developing Humility, Belief in Self and Others, Faith, Love Understanding and Affection for others are very much needed in today’s youngsters.

As a Chief Mentor at Lakshya International School, I, Neeta Das, would earnestly urge all my colleagues to sincerely take the initiatives to develop these skills in students, which would bridge the gap and hone and polish their overall character.

Neeta Das

Principal, Lakshya International School, Nagda, Ujjain, M.P.