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Knox College students enrolled in Social and Emotional Learning Standards, taught by Jennifer Foubert, associate professor and chair of educational studies and director of teacher education, took part in an opportunity to see the education field up close as they joined Heather Hellenga ’90, Lombard Middle School teacher, for a social emotional learning (SEL) teaching experience.
During Morning Meeting, Knox students sat in a group with the Lombard students and participated in various social exercises, ranging from simply asking their neighbor about themselves, to laughing out loud as a tissue was dropped to the ground and going silent once it landed.
“I’m interested in learning about social and emotional learning standards in Illinois. I want to be able to utilize what I’ve learned and see how it can be used in a classroom setting,” Noelle Hamilton ’24 said.
“It was also great to see how Morning Meeting helped the kids interact with each other and come together. I thought that was awesome,” Todd Smith ’24 said.
The program’s goal is to encourage a social atmosphere among students. By encouraging positive social habits, the program hopes to instill meaningful skills that may have been dulled in the years of COVID. Hellenga says she adopted this program into her classroom to promote a family feeling through the practice of building authentic relationships.
“It’s not a packaged curriculum. These are real-life interactions with one another,” Hellenga said.
Through their participation, Foubert believes that Knox students will find ways to implement SEL methods into their own teaching, as well as better understand how children's social emotional development and wellness can inform their pedagogy.
“It’s great being able to see a teacher in action. It’s great to be able to see how she works with the students in her classroom to build relationships,” Olivia Hukel ’24 said.
Foubert says that she wants students to not only learn about SEL programs through coursework, but also through participation with teachers and students locally. “Ms. Hellenga is an exemplary educator; her approaches to building community with and among students, and classroom management, illustrate many best practices.”
Published on December 15, 2022