Are We Categorically Ignoring Social And Emotional Learning?
Given the high rates of mental and psychological distress, there emerges the need to talk on the issues less talked about. Homes, Societies, and institutions need to think and chalk out ways to spotlight more on Social and Emotional learning.
The COVID-19 pandemic has ripped lives and livelihoods apart and there appears little to no silver lining in this thunderstorm shortly. Lockdown-induced work from home has comprehended people's cosmos to a desk and a laptop. But people’s aspirations have got no boundaries. They are roaming from mars to the moon and from 5G to cryptocurrency. Working professionals, students, kids, etc all are in hope, that one day, surely this pandemic will go away and the world will be as good as it was earlier but nobody is sure of that "one day". The lockdown has given different experiences to different people. Some see it as a revolution in the IT sector, but it's tormenting lives for a few. They see it as a force that has grabbed them their livelihoods. Hence the picture is not as rosy as it may appear for a few. This is the case with those who can afford at least a sustainable 24x7 internet. But, have we ever thought about what happens to those who have got no internet or infrastructure to connect virtually with their place of work, institutes or friends, etc? the world has literally become very dark for them. The infamous incident of a student from Delhi university committing suicide, as the information about OBE ( Open Book Exam) rolls out, is the reflection of the digital divide and its repercussions. This will even haunt people like these in the long run as well, as the digital divide is yet to show its real face. For instance, the school dropout rates have increased rapidly, child marriages have taken a toll in the pandemic, domestic violence, health issues also cannot be ignored.
Psychological distresses like depression, anxiety, irritability, loneliness worthlessness, etc have jumped into huge numbers. Children are finding it really hard to understand the lessons, further exacerbating their anxiety. But the aspirations of society, parents, and themselves will never allow them to rethink and understand the predicament they are going through.
As a result, depression and suicidal thoughts are bound to take a toll. Even before the pandemic gave knock on our doors, India comprised 28 suicides by students every day within 15-29 years. These numbers are as per the data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
Student distress has seen an exceptional rise in India and other parts of the world. Students in the United States, Japan, and other parts of the world are going through similar instances like depression, sleeplessness, etc.
Even after such grave numbers, the solution to such problems is rarely researched upon. Sometimes, people don’t understand that these events are in response to some of the inputs society is sending to them. People are becoming more and more atomized. They believe that life can be sustained without social and emotional interventions, But this is the faulty thought process. Humans are different from animals, is not because of the fact animals are quadrupedal and humans are bipedal, in animals heads, abdomen, and feet are linear and in humans, these organs follow a hierarchy. But they are different, given the fact they can contemplate, make societies, and evolve psychologically. But, given the process of globalization, people are hardly finding time to contemplate and make societal connections, which is weakening them inside. In the world outside, man might have become mightier with the blessings of advanced tools of IT and transport, but within itself, it is becoming more and more vulnerable and lonely. Today man is running behind the information of Black holes but it is forgetting to gather information of its own. Also, there is very little possibility that man can further traverse long journeys with such sleek connectedness within. Therefore there arises the need for course correction.
Our schools and institutions are often busy bombarding information without realizing the fact that students need a calm and composed mind, a favorable social environment to soak in and better utilize these incarnations. Students, as well as teachers, are not psychologically prepared to disseminate and absorb the learnings properly. Therefore our institutions must rethink and research to equip themselves with infrastructures where social and emotional learnings are proposed.
It is also important that peers hailing from diverse social, cultural, and economic backgrounds can be holistically engaged and desired outcomes can be generated.
Social and emotional learnings will help one come up with self and social awareness, self-management, perseverance, resilience, attention, self-esteem among many such lifelong virtues.