Being able to recall facts may help you look good in front of your friends during trivia night, but memorizing content of the past has become largely irrelevant in today’s modern society. When it comes to education, the undeniable truth of the testing culture from the past 20 years is that children arrive to the working world woefully unprepared to deal with interpersonal relationships or even the ability to work in teams. This has as much to do with poor academic skills gained as it has to do with the lack of acquiring and developing basic social and emotional skills associated with positive human relationships. The hue and cry of the media announcing the demise of public education begs the question: What is the best solution for helping students prepare for the 21st-century workforce?

For a growing number of schools and districts, introducing social-emotional learning (SEL) into the classroom in the context of 21st-century learning is the answer.

SEL skills and competencies, as defined by Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making—all of the valuable soft skills important for lifelong success. The challenge is how to do this in an engaging and relevant manner.

4 reasons teaching coding improves #SEL instruction

For many, integrating curriculum around coding and programming to learn the “language” of technology while practicing the language of SEL has been the answer. A course previously taught only in college quickly trickled down to classes in high school. Now, even elementary and preschools are incorporating some level of coding into their agenda, demonstrating how young children are capable of developing an understanding of basic coding concepts.

About the Author:

Stephan Turnipseed is the executive vice president and chief strategy officer for Pitsco Education. To this role he brings a lifetime of experience as an educational thought leader, advocate of hands-on learning, and entrepreneur. Turnipseed is the former president of LEGO® Education North America. During his tenure there, he spearheaded the effort to expand the company’s scope from product sales to the development of innovative educational resources. Until recently, Turnipseed led the team at Destination Imagination, an experiential learning company aimed at preparing students for the future of work and civil society. He chaired The Partnership for 21st Century Learning and co-chaired the Brookings Institution’s Business for Early Childhood Development Task Force. He serves on or has served on boards for numerous organizations and think tanks, including Education Reimagined and the Learning Policy Institute. Turnipseed has been a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. Recognizing his lifetime achievement in STEM education, National Instruments awarded him the prestigious Engineering Impact Award.


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