There is much discussion about incorporating more social-emotional learning (SEL) in schools during the next school year. Music class is certainly one of the perfect places to help students grow in this area. Music naturally incorporates the processing of emotion and the development of social skills which come from working with other students.
An SEL curriculum specifically teaches five core competencies to students: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. The first two core concepts, in particular, may be more challenging as students are processing recent events.
To address these areas, Pepper recently hosted a webinar with music teacher Lesley Moffat. She is the author of two books: I Love My Job, but It’s Killing Me and Love the Job, Lose the Stress (available through the webinar below).
Moffat wrote these books as she was learning to contend with health problems that arose from the stress of working as a music teacher. She says she originally made some changes in her classes for her own benefit and found that those techniques had a significant effect on the students as well.
First, Moffat says she refocused on her core goals. She centered on:
- Care – What do you really care about? (e.g. helping your students create beauty, making good decisions, building relationships, etc.)
- Clarity – How can you best communicate that? (being clear what your goals are with students and administrators)
- Consistency – Doing it every day (incorporating practices that you do daily to help achieve the goals you care about)
To get off on the right foot each day, Moffat uses what she calls “the Four-Minute Protocol” in her classes. She starts each class the same way by turning down the lights and guiding the students through breathing exercises. She says this helps clear their minds and gets them ready to learn – giving them better self-awareness and self-management skills. Moffat notes that she has seen great improvements in her students since she added this protocol to all her classes.
She walks through a demonstration in the webinar and gives more details about the journey that brought her to where she is today. The webinar can be viewed below.
Link to the full interview here. (The video below also has the full webinar now.)
For more information on social-emotional learning in music class, view Scott Edgar’s book
Music Education and Social Emotional Learning.