As published in the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, & Academic Development Newsletter
The importance of social and emotional skills in the workplace has been well-documented, but a virtual focus group of business leaders hosted by the Commission and Citizen Schools on July 25 revealed the broader array of skills that today’s employers value such as intellectual curiosity, willingness to give and receive feedback, personal ownership of problems and challenges, and recognition of unconscious bias.
The focus group also revealed many businesses are taking steps to intentionally prioritize these skills by embedding them within key organizational practices such as explicitly measuring and rewarding social and emotional skills in hiring and performance. The Commission will continue engaging with leaders from different sectors as it discusses both the ways to approach social, emotional, and academic development in schools and communities and the demand for these skills in society at large.
Equity Highlighted in Civics Education Discussion
The need to intentionally address equity and understand how different students’ personal experiences affect the ways they interact with concepts of civic engagement and social, emotional, and academic development surfaced as a key point in a webinar discussion the Commission held recently in partnership with Generation Citizen. The webinar focused on synergies and challenges in both the civics education and social, emotional, and academic fields and the overlapping competencies and skills that come from immersion in high-quality social-emotional and civics-infused curricula. Educators and students shared insights from their own educational experiences and sparked a conversation around the benefits of a non-exclusionary concept of community in civics education and social, emotional, and academic development.
The conversation concluded with a call to break down siloes between these two fields, explore the ways these fields can mutually support each other, and a call to intentionally collaborate to address issues of equity in all the areas where students spend time.