Where Human Development and Learning Occurs

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Social-emotional skills are taught in a variety of environments including home and school. Both academic and social-emotional learning are important to a child's development. This development is part of the socialization process.

Describe Three Skills or Personal Capabilities that Contribute to Positive Social Development in a Wide Range of Life's Roles and Responsibilities.

Students are expected to possess a wide array of skills in their emotional arsenal by the time they reach adulthood. Some important capabilities that they must have in order to be a successful adult are the ability to: show empathy, appreciate diversity, negotiate fairly, seek help, and set and plan goals (Elias, 2003).

The ability to show empathy is important throughout life as a means to connect with other people. A person who was completely un-empathetic would not be desirable as a friend or a confidence; unless that person was a fictional television character on a popular medical drama i.e. Gregory House.

In an increasingly connected and diverse world it is key that students be able to appreciate diversity. It is no longer socially acceptable for anyone to be intolerant of other cultures, ethnicities, genders, or sexualities. In many cases it is even illegal for people to act in a prejudicial manner, such as in hiring practices or housing regulations. An appreciation of diversity allows a person to be influenced by a variety of people. This allows for the freer transmission of music, foods, thoughts, and friendships across cultural boundaries. Appreciation for diversity has given many American school children a love of pizza, Chinese food, Reggae music, Hip Hop music, and countless other enjoyments that were derived from sources outside their own cultural influences.

As students age they will frequently have to come to agreements with people who may not share their particular values on a subject. Because of this, the ability to negotiate fairly is important for retaining the integrity of relationships between all parties involved in the negotiations. Negotiating is the primary way that people will resolve conflict. In order to resolve a conflict successfully, all parties must feel that they are being treated fairly.

John Donne in Meditation no. 18 from "Devotions upon Emergent Occasions" (1624) said, "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent." At some point every person will need the help of someone else. Nobody can do it all on their own. People must be able to seek out and accept help from others in order to succeed. If people did not ask for help from anyone then no one would ever move (because one person can't lift a couch) or learn anything or build a house (because one person can't lift a roof).

Setting and planning goals is important for success in school, at work and in life. In order to achieve goals a person must be able to identify the goal, set a realistic timeline for the goal, plan to achieve the goal and work the plan. Nothing important would ever be accomplished with out setting and achieving goals. Vaccines would not be created, mathematical formulas would never be written, and mountains would never be climbed. People would simply float around from place to place and thing to thing for the rest of their lives. It would be worse than a nuclear holocaust. Which, luckily, would never happen because no one would be able to enact their plan for achieving the goal of world domination. Setting and planning goals is important in completing assignments at school, such as an essay or term paper. It is also important at work for achieving directives of the company or supervisor.

Describe Two Qualities of Family Environment that Contribute to the Development of the Skills or Capabilities you identified in A.

A family that is nurturing and accepting of others will facilitate the child's development by fostering a sense of community. By nurturing the child, he or she will feel able to seek and receive help from other sources. The care and compassion shown in such an environment would enable the child feel empathy for another person. Fairness at home will translate in to fairness in negotiating later in life. A family environment that nurtures a child will foster the desire to please the family and will influence setting and planning goals. In order to teach a child to show empathy, appreciate diversity, negotiate fairly, and set and plan goals the parents or other family member will need to demonstrate these behaviors at home.

According to Elias (2003), "When home and school collaborate closely to implement social-emotional learning programmes, students gain more and programme effects are more enduring and pervasive. As more and more children are being bombarded by messages of mass culture, the Internet, television, music, videos and other outlets unfiltered by adults, it becomes more and more important that key caregivers in children's lives send strong and coordinated health-promoting messages. Parents, schools, the community and the larger society all agree that building children's social- emotional skills is an important common concern."

Describe One Quality of a Family Environment that may Inhibit the Development of the Skills or Capabilities you identified in A.

A home that is disorganized and lacks a sense of equilibrium will negatively influence a child's development of setting and planning goals. A child from a disorganized home will not have the examples of proper goals setting behavior to mirror. Likewise a home that is cruel and intolerant will not have a desire to empathize, appreciate diversity or negotiate fairly demonstrated at home. A child from an environment such as that is more likely to lash out at peers and superiors because they will view the world as being harsh and unfair. A child who is routinely treated unfairly will be stunted in their development of emotional intelligence.

Describe Two Qualities of a Classroom Environment that Contribute to the Development of the Skills or Capabilities that you Identified in A.

A classroom environment that is structured and organized will teach the student ways to set and plan goals. Teachers who are proactive in following up with students will also help the students to achieve their goals. A class where the teacher treats all children fairly will demonstrate tolerance and appreciation for cultural diversity (if it exists in the classroom) and negotiating fairly. If a student feels that they are being treated fairly they will be more inclined to treat others fairly. A teacher whom empathizes with students will in turn influence students to empathize with others.

A teacher can further influence the development of positive qualities by offering sufficient time in the school syllabus for instruction each year (to prevent students from feeling rushed), monitoring and organizing counseling sessions for students they feel are facing difficult situations, and allowing adequate staff planning time to coordinate positive reinforcing efforts (Elias, 2003). Providing effective social-emotional assistance is useful in preventing some negative outcomes of difficult childhood events and promotes better academic success (Elias, 2003).

Describe One Quality of a Classroom Environment that may Inhibit to the Development of the Skills or Capabilities that you Identified in A.

A classroom that is culturally homogenous could have difficulty encouraging an appreciation of other cultures. They would have to work effectively to promote appreciation of other cultures that the student may not be exposed to. This could be assisted by the study of other cultures. A class where the teacher is a strict disciplinarian and perceived as unfair would not provide an adequate example for the students to follow in order to negotiate fairly, show empathy and ask for help. The students would not be inclined to ask for help because they may feel threatened by the teacher's behavior. Additionally, an environment such as this would likely lead to an everyone for himself/herself mentality.

F. Incorporate Supportive Evidence from the Theory of Erik Erickson, Abraham Maslow, Maurice Elias or another Social Development Theorist.

According to Maurice Elias, in a 2008 interview with Edutopia.org, there are three main obstacles to developing social and emotional intelligence. Those obstacles are lack of time, the feeling that it is someone else's job, and that it takes too much effort. As indicated in the example above a teacher can improve the development of social-emotional skills by ensuring that enough time is provided for in the curriculum. Some teachers may feel that it is the parent's responsibility to teach socials or emotional skills, but it is not always the case that the parents teach those at home. As a result, it is important for all adults in the child's environment to make a concentrated effort to demonstrate proper and ethical behavior. The third objection that it takes too much time is abhorrent. According to a famous quote by Truett S. Cathy, founder of Chick-Fil-A restaurants, in his 2004 book of the same name "It's better to build boys than mend men." It may be hard work to help develop a positive character in a young child, but it is almost impossible to reverse the character in an adult. No matter how much work needs to be done to help mold our children it must be done if society wishes to have honest, capable, and intelligent citizens in the future.

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