#EVERFIedchat: Leading with Kindness

How did you spend World Kindness Day? Kindness tends to give us the warm and fuzzies, but for educators, teaching and preaching it can be a challenge. With so much emphasis placed on improvements in math and science, skills like compassion often receive less classroom time. This unintended trade-off may be short-sighted, as compassion is an important social-emotional skill that begins to develop in early childhood and is essential for lifelong health and success.

On World Kindness Day, EVERFI teacher ambassadors Jenny and Bridgett hosted #EVERFIedchat, where educators from around the Twitterverse shared resources and suggestions for teaching students about leading with kindness. If you missed the chat, never fear! We’ve collected the best tweets from the chat for you here. Check it out!

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Although most of our social interactions these days occur at a distance, helping students work on social emotional skills can still have a big impact. Developing courage and grit, strong communication, and empathy can all help students make the most of their time in quarantine.

Question 1: What are your favorite books and resources that promote kindness in the classroom?

The best part of convening together is to be able to pool resources that help us to be successful. Of course, people suggested EVERFI’s resources, like The Compassion Project, Character Playbook, and Honor Code, but there were many other options shared, too. For example:

Justin Aglios’s recs came highly recommended alongside other poster and book suggestions.

Question 2: What impact can acts of kindness have on students?

Show this to the next Negative Nelly who says they don’t have time to address kindness, because Mrs. Albion is spot on!

Question 3: How do you help students to feel a social responsibility to be kind?

Jenny Watson says, it should come naturally.

Modeled behaviors are a strong predictor of future behaviors. It’s important that we have the courage to explicitly address our mistakes when we make them and lead with kindness.

Question 4: A kindness lesson was a flop – how do you bounce back?

We’ve all been there – you are in your groove, going above and beyond… and yet your students struggle to relate. Or they can’t stop obsessing over a single detail. Or they just aren’t in the mood. Perhaps a change of venue is needed:

But most importantly, think about why. Brian T. Donohue recommends an honest self-survey and figuring out a way forward to help your students lead with kindness and better under social responsibility.

Question 5: How do you demonstrate compassion in your classroom?

Sometimes it can be difficult to build a cornerstone of kindness in the classroom. In these moments, it’s helpful to remember what other educators do to rise above. Mykel Estes recommends always setting an example.

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Social and emotional development is essential to students’ success – now and in their future. Our SEL resources are designed to equip educators with tools to nurture skills like compassion, leadership, conflict resolution, self-awareness, and resilience.

Question 6: How do you address non-compassionate behavior in a teachable way?

While many educators might consider non-compassionate behavior, assign consequences and move forward, this isn’t necessarily the most teachable approach. Placing kindness as the cornerstone of classroom management, like Carrie Farrell suggests, empowers students and honors their emotional journey.

Question 7: Let’s not forget our colleagues – how can we lead with kindness in the school workplace?

Mrs. Gray had great ideas, especially for this time of year!

These are great ways to go out of your way to help someone, but don’t forget that approaching your colleagues with kindness and compassion doesn’t require any additional work on your behalf.

Questions 8: When it comes to teaching and imparting kindness to your students, how do you know you’ve been successful?

Measuring our success when it comes to compassion is a far more nebulous thing than simply assessing whether or not students fully understand how to do long division. Luckily, Bridgett Schmitt painted a beautiful picture of community drenched in kindness.

Next time, join us in real-time to share resources and get takeaways that will strengthen your pedagogy. On December 11, 2019 at 7 PM EST/6 PM CST, you’ll find us at #EVERFIedchat on Twitter to discuss holiday spending.

Soft Skills, Solid Outcomes

Social emotional learning is at the heart of good teaching. When students are able to manage their emotions, practice self-awareness, and maintain healthy relationships, they’ll excel in school, work, and life.