Developing the Inner Leader
PBLWorks National Faculty member Dr. Matinga Ragatz taught SEL skills within projects in her high school Global Studies classes. Apollo was a mid-year transfer student who developed a reputation of being “difficult” within weeks of his arrival to the school. He presented the “troublemaker” persona in an obvious effort to hide his true self and keep people at bay. A quick review of Apollo’s schooling history confirmed that he had transferred schools eight times in 10 years, and had cycled through academic suspensions and expulsions due to behavioral issues.
On his first day in Dr. Ragatz’s class, he voluntarily sat in the very front of the room, put on a set of headphones, and cranked up the volume on his music. This sent definite and audible signals to his peers that he did not care to be there, and presented an open challenge to anyone witnessing this behavior.
Dr. Ragatz declined his challenge…..
This story is an excerpt from an article that my co-author Dr. Matinga Ragatz and I wrote for PBLWorks. Head on over to their page to read it in its entirety and discover how Matinga connected with and cultivated SEL skills in Apollo.
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The ideal way to improve SEL skills for students is to start with the adults. Districts should provide PD where teachers explore their own SEL strengths and weaknesses, modeling strategies that can be used in the core classroom.
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