Creating ProSocial Learning Experiences
As was evident during the pandemic, many of our students walk into the classroom carrying heavy baggage, including traumatic experiences from childhood, stressful family dynamics, and socioeconomic disadvantages. As a result, it is challenging for them to engage with classmates and in learning.
According to the panelists in “The Moments Are More Important Than the Minutes: Creating ProSocial Learning Experiences,” research shows that from preschool to high school, the more ProSocial a student is, the higher the student’s academic achievement tends to be.
ProSocial behavior is defined as “voluntary behavior intended to benefit another.” When teachers help students improve their social skills, their grades and test scores rise, even when there’s no academic aspect of the intervention.
In addition, placing a student in a classroom with ProSocial classmates is likelier to earn their grades and test scores than if placed in an AntiSocial classroom or a classroom that is even less than ProSocial.
The more students and educators connect through ProSocial activities and passions are ignited, there is an increased engagement in learning. ProSocial behaviors include empathy, altruism, generosity, sharing, cooperation, self-sacrifice, and assistance. Activities to promote the desired behaviors include complimenting classmates, helping others, settling disagreements, and sharing.
However, these activities should be more than one lesson activity. Creating a ProSocial environment comes from various sustainable activities or moments. The panelists emphasized that if teachers believe wholeheartedly that connecting and integrating social behaviors into their class is essential, they will likely ensure they are delivered with fidelity instead of compliance.
For example, if students being on time to class is important, then always starting class on time must be done consistently, becoming the thread of a ProSocial classroom.
It is critical that moments are intentional, impactful, and low-risk opportunities where both students and teachers feel 100% successful having participated in them. Also critical in building moments is creating ProSocial learning experiences where students and adults are allowed not to shift their belief system radically but to consider that the story they had been telling themselves might have a different angle or perspective.
Using the moments approach to ProSocial learning experiences for their students, the panelists have noticed that students are less stressed, laugh more, and have a level of connection and empathy. In addition, through moments instead of minutes, students and adults get to know each other, develop deeper connections, and feel a high level of support that ultimately increases student engagement in the classroom.
Learn more about this edWeb broadcast, “The Moments Are More Important Than the Minutes: Creating ProSocial Learning Experiences,” sponsored by Meteor Education.
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Blog post by Eileen Belastock, based on this edLeader Panel