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Contributed by Dr. Rachel Kramer*
Research shows that there is a strong link between a girls socio-emotional competence and their chance of success and performance in learning, and educators must equip themselves with methods that they can employ in the classroom to encourage and support this type of development in girls.
The following are strategies that can be employed now by educators to support girls:
1. Build a sense of self-efficacy, encourage
problem solving – consider having a Problem Solving Council in the classroom, made up of a rotating group of students who work with others to resolve differences and difficulties in a peaceful and respectful way. To further support the development of self-efficacy, encourage girls to set concrete goals and teach skills for learning to handle setbacks and keep them in perspective.
2. Hold in mind the positive power of girls’ friendships – the connectedness and sense of caring and fairness that many girls bring to their friendships. Remind girls that they are not responsible for others’ emotions, but they should strive to think about how everyone in a group feels and to be aware and respectful of others’ emotions. Hold girls to a standard of expectation that includes being kind.
3. Encourage girls to pursue excellence rather than perfection – excellence means doing your best within reasonable time limits and with realistic consideration of the resources that are available to you.
Dr. Rachel Kramer is a Pediatric Psychologist in Concord, MA, where she has assisted with variety of services for preschools, children, adolescents, and their families who are struggling with social and emotional development. She will be speaking at INSPIRE 2014: Engaging Today’s Student on further strategies for supporting girls social and emotional development.