The MissionQ. Why social and emotional skills?
A. Because they define you.
They determine your career path, who your friends are, where your interests take you, how you respond to life's challenges and how others perceive you. Your social and emotional skills form your personality and underpin everything you achieve in life.
Many teachers believe that they don't focus on social and emotional skills as they aren't seen as a priority in their school, reasoning that a knowledge-based curriculum is the main requirement for success in today's climate.
We argue the contrary, of course! When we describe those 'star' pupils, the ones who appear mature, a pleasure to teach and likely to go far, we're referring more often than not to their competency with social and emotional skills. Much like when you think about and describe a ‘good’ friend - no doubt someone who's a good listener, is kind and thoughtful, shares your joys and picks you up in times of sorrow. These skills are what define and set apart those friends and pupils. Essentially, the character of a person can determine their life path, influencing everything from their likeability and their career, to their choice of friends and their standing in society.
Think about you, yourself, - what has helped or hindered you with personal success and happiness in life? Is it truly just your level of knowledge? More likely, it's your confidence, self-presentation skills, how well you've responded to criticism, your ability to network, your fear of failure, how effectively you communicate and your attitude towards others.
So actually, social and emotional skills are the most valuable skills to teach and learn. Contrary to the belief that PSHE is lower down the priority list in schools, social and emotional skills undoubtedly transcend every subject and every school without exception. On a daily basis, you encourage and praise courtesy in ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and a door held open. You expect pupils to be quiet, to listen, to queue, to wait, to dress appropriately, to share, to take turns, to be on time, and to show respect and consideration for others. Social and emotional skills abound, and all before 9 o’clock.
Our resources are designed to contribute to the ethos you're already building, every day. Where we come in is to highlight, identify, and reason the purpose of these skills so that pupils learn that they, themselves, are the key to their own success. It’s essentially about fostering a positive, responsible attitude that will underpin effective subject learning and support a successful future.
Q. Why not photocopiable worksheets for a one-off purchase?
A. Because our individual workbooks give ownership and responsibility to the pupil.
You wouldn't write your personal, sometimes private thoughts, feelings, worries and achievements on loose scraps of paper. If you are encouraged to value your personal development, we feel that treasuring and processing it in a journal, something you can personalise and keep safe, you'll more likely derive benefit than from dull, uninspiring black and white photocopiable worksheets which often get screwed up, lost and lack a sense of continuity.
Whilst you may argue that this is a more financially expensive route, we offer great discounts on multiple copies of our workbooks with material which could potentially last for several terms and which will rival alternative photocopying costs and time.
Learning about yourself spills over into every aspect of our lives which means that our ethos may also contribute to happier, healthier, more self-aware pupils in your school, who take more responsibility for both their learning and relationships, which is ultimately priceless!
Q. Isn't the rising trend for self-esteem lessons responsible for egotism?
A. A carefully managed balance is required in order that self-esteem is developed effectively.
For those who are reticent about promoting self-esteem in young people for fear that it leads to over-confident pupils with an inflated sense of entitlement and unrealistic expectations of themselves and others - we agree (partly)! It depends on how you do it! Snivel And Shriek aims to provide a refreshing, balanced approach with resources that build true self-awareness by not only celebrating strengths but also recognising and developing weaknesses.
A sense of self from both angles is of far greater benefit to us all. How much personal satisfaction does it give you when you overcome a difficulty? More, we think, than essentially just listing your best skills.
Carefully selecting the resources you use will have a significant impact on your pupils.