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April 1, 2020
Vol. 77
No. 7

Whole Child Spotlight: On Discussion Skills

    Social-emotional learning
    Whole Child Spotlight: On Discussion Skills thumbnail
      In The Learning Compact Renewed: Whole Child for the Whole World, ASCD's call-to-action on whole child education, we assert:
      Education is the cornerstone of participatory democracy and a key for igniting economic development and personal success in a global marketplace. It is also our best hope for devising solutions for the myriad problems threatening the sustainability of our planet and the diverse people, plants, and animals who call it home. The knowledge, skills, values, and mindsets that will allow children to flourish and contribute great things to local and global communities address cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and behavioral aspects of development.
      In this context, among the most critical skills for the generation of students now in K–12 schools—and future generations—are those revolving around problem solving, consensus building, and collaboration. In short, students will need strong communication skills and the capabilities and understandings aligned with empathy.
      And just as we do in developing skills around reading, math, or physical activity, we must introduce skills centering on effective communication, problem solving, and empathy in an environment that is supportive and developmental. Discussion formats, issues, and choices should be introduced and developed with consideration for the learners, their experiences, and their diverse voices and opinions. Communication skills are a holistic set of skills that takes into account not only the ability to formulate and convey ideas, but also the ability to understand the listener.
      —Sean Slade, ASCD Sr. Director, Global Outreach

      Key Whole Child Indicators Related to Discussion

       

      Whole Child Spotlight: On Discussion Skills-table

      Safe

      7

      Our school teaches, models, and provides opportunities to practice social-emotional skills, including effective listening, conflict resolution, problem solving, personal reflection and responsibility, and ethical decision making.

      Safe8Our school upholds social justice and equity concepts and practices mutual respect for individual differences at all levels of school interactions—student-to-student, adult-to-student, and adult-to-adult.
      Engaged3Our school policies and climate reinforce citizenship and civic behaviors by students, family members, and staff and include meaningful participation in decision making.
      Engaged6Our curriculum and instruction promote students' understanding of the real-world, global relevance, and application of learned content.
      Supported10All adults who interact with students both within the school and through extracurricular, cocurricular, and community-based experiences teach and model prosocial behavior.
      Challenged2Our curriculum and instruction provide opportunities for students to develop critical-thinking and reasoning skills, problem-solving competencies, and technology proficiency.
      Challenged8Our curriculum and instruction develop students' global awareness and competencies, including understanding of language and culture.

      Visit www.ascd.org/whole-child for more information on ASCD's Whole Child indicators.

      Sean Slade has more than 25 years of experience in education in a career that has encompassed four continents and five countries. He is currently the director of Whole Child programs at ASCD. He is a regular guest columnist for both the Huffington Post and The Washington Post, commenting on areas of school reform that relate to education, health, well-being, resilience, and school climate.

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