Hind Louali Provides an Insight into How STEM Education Reinforces Social-Emotional Learning

STEM education puts emphasis on the development of innovation, problem solving and critical thinking skills. As Hind Louali French School of Austin – Ecole Jean-Jacques Rousseau says, in the recent years, educators have recognized the importance and ease of integrating social-emotional learning (SEL) into STEM education. Social-emotional learning implies to the process through which students develop the skills needed to understand and manage emotions, make responsible decisions, as well as establish and maintain positive relationships. 

Hind Louali discusses how core competencies of SEL connect to STEM

SEL is vital for students to not only fare well in school, but also thrive in their careers and personal lives in general. It helps them to develop valuable skills like empathy, self-awareness, and resilience. The five core social and emotional competencies of SEL are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, positive relationships and responsible decision making. All of these competencies connect to STEM in distinctive ways. 

Working on STEM projects, particularly open-ended design challenges that have no clear solution, can help students become more self-aware. While it is normal for them to initially get frustrated and be unsure about the task at hand, working in collaboration with peers enables the students to talk through the problem, regulate their emotions, and ultimately deal with the challenge as a team.  Having open discussions and getting the opportunity to reflect during or following an open-ended challenge can help students to recognize and talk through their emotions, thereby promoting improved self-awareness. 

As Hind Louali French School of Austin – Ecole Jean-Jacques Rousseau says, by providing opportunities for students to develop self-management skills, STEM education is instrumental in reinforcing social-emotional learning. It is common for students to face setbacks and challenges while working on STEM projects. Persevering through such challenges helps them to develop self-confidence, resilience and a growth mindset. As students stay focused on their goals and learn to manage their emotions, they can hone self-regulation skills that are vital for success in any field.

As students work together on STEM projects, they shall provide support to their team members by sharing ideas, making compromises and asking/answering questions. Such interactions assist students to gauge the feelings of their teammates and learn how to put themselves in their shoes. This goes a long way in enabling them to students social-awareness skills.

Another way STEM supports social-emotional learning is by giving students chances to work together. Collaboration is key to SEL as it teaches students to communicate well, build relationships, and pursue common goals. In STEM projects, students must collaborate to solve complex problems, which helps them listen to different perspectives, share their ideas, and find solutions together.

STEM education also provides students with ample opportunities to engage in meaningful and purposeful work. As students work on STEM projects, they know that their work has certain real-world applications. This sense of purpose can aid students to develop a sense of empathy and social responsibility, which ultimately results in responsible decision-making.

Broadly speaking, hands-on STEM activities have become a necessity in modern classrooms as they provide students with real-world problems to solve, encourage collaboration, and foster innovation. Integrating SEL into STEM education would particularly help students develop competencies that are essential for success both in and outside of the classroom.