Prior to the pandemic schools and districts had a focus on the emotional development of students ensuring they have personal growth beyond what they learn in textbooks.
However, after the onset of COVID-19 and as students try to heal from the past year and a half, social-emotional learning has become a necessity for schools. Today's students have experienced so many shifts in learning, social interactions, the way they engage in their communities, and more. Social-emotional learning is a mode of healing from the traumas of the past year and a way to grow positively from the massive changes in our world.
"Without community service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It's important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It's the way in which we ourselves grow and develop." - Dorothy Height
Learn More: What is Social-Emotional Learning?
Why is social-emotional learning important for a student's future?
Not only is social-emotional growth an important healing element for students, but it's also vital for future success. Colleges look for students that will be a positive addition to their campus - students that have a widened world view and developed self-awareness fit the bill. Aside from college acceptance, this type of personal growth allows a student to be more well-rounded. They will be more successful in all aspects of life including personal relationships, university, workplace, and more.
The core competencies that encompass social-emotional learning are responsible decision making, social awareness, relationship skills, self-awareness, and self-management. There are many volunteering opportunities students can engage in to impact their social-emotional growth:Responsible decision making
- Leadership roles such as assistant coaching local children's sports teams or leading activities at local boys and girls clubs
- Leading a group of volunteers
- Organizing and executing a service project or experience
- Cause-related volunteering
- Advocacy as service
- Serving with populations in the community different from their own: working with the homeless, underserved communities, elderly, children.
- Partner with a local nonprofit for a full semester or year
- Work with a nursing home or retirement community
- Serve with a local boys and girls club
Self-awareness and self-management
- Creating and executing a solo service project
- Encourage students to identify their skills and passions and create or discover service opportunities that use those abilities
BONUS BLOG POST: Student Service Ideas to Encourage Deep Reflection & Student Growth
These are just a few examples of service opportunities students can engage in to foster social-emotional learning. Many of these ideas or opportunities can cross over into other categories, and by doing any type of service, students can grow. But how do students take that further step and develop emotionally because of service? How do they grow in these areas over time? An important in that social-emotional learning is reflecting on what that service experience meant to that student.
Service reflections are vital. Reflecting on their experiences allows students to understand the deeper impact their volunteering had on their community and on themselves. Students and administrators alike might even be surprised as to the depth at which service impacts students. Administrators can suggest questions students must answer, share a variety of reflection prompts, or have general guidelines around students' reflection in order for them to really dig deep on the impact.
BONUS BLOG POST: How to Write an A+ Reflection and Why it's Important
x2VOL's unique setup allows administrators to do just that. The reflection feature in x2VOL allows administrators to customize the reflection prompt. And a student's written reflection is automatically attached to each service entry. Administrators can generate reports with their service hours and reflections. And students can keep track of their experiences and leverage their reflections for later use on college applications, job applications, and more.
Empower your students with service tracking and engage them in meaningful social-emotional growth. Learn more about x2VOL: