Committing to Soft Skill Development & Emotional Support
When the Great Recession hit in 2008, people had less money to buy things. The focus shifted from consumption to quality of life and experiences. We began to understand how true happiness doesn’t come from things but shared experiences with our communities of loving family and friends.
This became really clear to us recently while watching our granddaughter Anna attend school online. Before her teacher could teach, the students first needed to see each other and connect. Social-emotional connection is the bedrock of all cultures and all learning.
As SEL promoters for decades now, we’ve been thrilled to see schools shifting their focus to these skills in recent years. Yet when push comes to shove, these programs often get the short shrift.
The same goes for school counselors and physical education teachers – positions often cut during tough times. Yet more than ever, we need to commit to these programs and the staff who run them. After all, COVID has fueled a great amount of stress, anxiety, and trauma in children and adults alike. Ameliorating these once schools reconvene should be job number one.
Hybrid Online Learning
Indeed, all of education will have to change, post-COVID.
Planning to cover 9-year old Anna’s college costs was daunting enough before the recent market crash cut her 529 savings account in half. Even without this, even with the best of our yearly contributions and growth scenarios, my projections looked grim. With costs increasing by more than 25% each decade, paying for college will be like buying a new home.
But the acceleration of online learning could bring some relief.
We learned years ago that we could save money for people wanting to attend Yoga Calm trainings by flipping courses with a hybrid approach (online and in-person). For instance, by delivering all the background content online and focusing on skills-development in person, we cut the course time in half and the course fee significantly.
That was 10 years ago. Since then, we’ve developed more than 10 fully online courses, which have brought our work to thousands around the world. But more than just presenting a “talking head,” many of these courses, like our Certification Bundle, blend online coursework with human coaching and support. New live online courses, such as our TRE trainings, are our latest developments that can expand access while providing human contact and saving money.
We’ve also found that, in many cases, the online courses are even more effective, as students can learn in their own home, at their own pace, reviewing content as much as they like and connecting with instructors as needed.
It’s the best of all possible worlds – and the future of education. We need low-cost methods to share the amazing intelligence of teachers from around the world, while also providing opportunities for face-to-face connection.
Focus on Health
Obesity, cardiovascular and diabetes disease are major risk factors for COVID-related death. They are also largely preventable with proper exercise and diet.
With a third of today’s children projected to develop diabetes in their lifetime, the projected costs of ignoring exercise and diet are staggering. Now with COVID in the mix, the risks are even more unacceptable.
It’s time for national, regional, and local action to focus on our physical health. Schools can be where this starts, restoring physical education hours that were ditched in the quest for higher test scores.
And the physical benefit is just part of it. As we’ve blogged before, exercise is one of the best low-cost, safe methods for reducing stress and supporting mental health, not to mention learning outcomes.
COVID presents us with an opportunity to finally strip away the non-essential from our lives and focus on what matters for all forms of life to flourish on Earth; to transform or eliminate bureaucracies and other systems that don’t serve us and commit to what is truly important.
What are some opportunities you see arising in this time of stress and crisis? What priorities have come clearer to you during this pandemic? Share your ideas in the comments…