'learn' photo (c) 2008, F Delventhal - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As an advocate of helping our students develop Social Emotional Learning skills (as well as a critic of SEL manipulation), I’m also looking for new ways to reinforce them.

Today, I tried something new and it seemed to go pretty well.

I invited students in my mainstream ninth-grade English classes to do an extra credit (yes, I’m not a total believer in intrinsic motivation) project researching up to three potential careers they might be considering.

There’s a “twist” to it, though.

Along with some of the usual info you’d expect in such a report — school/training requirements, potential salary range — I’m also asking students to write about if and how they see the SEL and literacy skills that we’ve had specific lessons about this year (Self-control; grit; being a good leader; being a good writer and reader; taking personal responsibility) might be useful to them in those careers (You can download the student hand-out and instructions here).

Students asked for an example, and I started talking about what would happen if you want to be an Ultimate Fighter and you lose control in the ring. One student interrupted me and shared how he had gotten kicked off his boxing team after he lost control in the ring — it was perfect!

Quite a few students expressed interest in doing it. Even better, most of them were students who most need to have those SEL skills reinforced.

I’ll share what they come up between now and the end of the year….