Often referred to as “soft skills” or “non-cognitive skills,” social-emotional competencies (SEC) can include abilities such as reflective listening, empathy, effective communication, managing difficult emotions, and understanding the emotions and actions of others. Because teaching is characterized by continuous social interactions, new and current teachers require a basic knowledge of these skills (such as those in which guidance counselors are trained) with which to build relationships with students. Toolbox for Teachers trainings provide hands on practice in these skills via discussion, group work and role plays in order to help teachers develop the competencies needed for effective communication and de-escalation, emotional self regulation, as well as the ability to “diagnose” the real reason for behaviors.
This frequently required social emotional skill-set is essential for work with all students, but is rarely covered in traditional teacher preparation programs. Emerging research in the field of trauma-informed education indicates that the ability to forge successful relationships is an essential component of creating safe classroom contexts where students can thrive.