It’s Time for Science Episode 11: Social and Emotional Learning

It’s Time for Science Episode 11: Social and Emotional Learning

This month on It’s Time for Science, it’s time to talk about social and emotional learning (SEL)! Host Tom Racine interviews Dr. Kenneth Wesson, a consultant on the science of education, learning, and the brain, and Ilyse Opas, Independent Educational Consultant specializing in SEL.

Episode Summary

Tom begins by discussing with Dr. Wesson what SEL is and what it isn’t. Dr. Wesson highlights the need to make space for SEL in science classrooms and ways to integrate it into instruction. They also note the effect the COVID-19 pandemic had on SEL in schools and how the pandemic so profoundly reinforced the need to create safe spaces and environments for kids to learn.

With Ms. Opas, Tom asks how SEL can help students and educators know themselves better and understand their own emotions. Ms. Opas emphasizes how making space for SEL in classrooms can help students with interpersonal skills and academics. She mentions some of the programs that can help introduce SEL at a school or district level, as well as things educators can do to take better care of themselves.

Episode Guests

Dr. Kenneth Wesson

Kenneth Wesson is a former higher education faculty member and administrator. He delivers keynote addresses on the neuroscience of learning for educational organizations and institutions throughout the United States and overseas. His audiences range from early childhood specialists to university-level educators. seven continents. His research is frequently published and referenced in Parents Magazine, HealthNet, and Brain World. He is also a contributing author with Frog Street Press, the ECE publisher.

Dr. Wesson regularly addresses educational organizations, counseling associations, school districts, and parenting organizations on the subject of “brain-considerate” learning environments. In addition to his speeches on the neuroscience of learning, Dr. Wesson speaks on the subjects of early brain development, design and engineering, STEM and STEAM, social emotional learning, and curriculum development. Dr. Wesson also serves on the advisory boards for the Korean Institute of Brain Science, Kids at Science, and the International Association of STEM Leaders. He is an active member of Scientists without Borders and can be seen on PBS specials about human learning and the teenage years.

Learn more about Dr. Kenneth Wesson and SEL in science from FOSS Insights

Ilyse Opas

As an independent educational consultant, Ilyse Opas is passionate about examining and strengthening the relationships between literacy, equity, and SEL. She believes that supporting teacher wellness is the first step in creating safe and successful classrooms for all and co-created KindMind, an online SEL support group for educators, in 2020. Ilyse spent almost two decades in the public school system as an educator, intervention instructor/coordinator, and instructional coach before founding IRO Educational Consulting, an independent consultancy based in SEL, mindfulness, and restorative justice. She also serves as a Professional Learning Lead for Collaborative Classroom, facilitating training for their SEL and Collaborative Literacy programs. Ilyse received her Master of Arts in Elementary Education and teaching certification from Mills College and her 200-hour yoga/SEL certification through Breathe for Change, an organization dedicated to bringing yoga and mindfulness to educators throughout the world.

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Look for School Specialty and FOSS on X and FacebookIt’s Time for Science is produced by School Specialty® and the Full Option Science System (FOSS®) at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Wesson’s article, Social Emotional Learning through Active Science, is available to read from a special FOSS Insights article on our FOSS website.

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