"What kind of people do we want our kids to be when they leave us?"

This is the open-ended question that Richard Gerver -- who has explored the links between great leadership, human potential, change, and innovation in his work as a teacher, school leader, and now as an international business speaker and consultant -- poses to educators in the new book, Building People: Social-Emotional Learning for Kids, Families, Schools & Communities.

The fact is, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, a typical K-12 student in the U.S. spends more than 1,000 hours inside the classroom each school year. During that time, educators -- from teachers to coaches, administrators to counselors -- help students develop their decision-making skills, begin to understand how decisions influence resulting behaviors, and gain an understanding of their peers’ decision-making, behaviors, and personalities.

Social-emotional learning focuses on teaching students to be socially competent, emotionally healthy problem-solvers who discover and maintain a sense of purpose. Research showcases compelling evidence that SEL will help learners develop positive behavior traits that will empower them, and those around them, in their everyday lives.

What kind of people do you want your students to be when they leave your school or classroom? How much of your answer is focused on academics, and how much is based upon the social and emotional competencies your students should exhibit? Where are there opportunities to better align what you teach in school with the ideal portrait of a successful graduate?

Today’s leaders are beginning to answer the question posed atop this blog by expanding the role of education -- from focusing solely on core subjects, like English language arts and math -- to include teaching the skills students need to develop so they can successfully manage their own experiences and engage with their peers in meaningful ways. To learn more about SEL, grab a copy of the book Building People: Social-Emotional Learning for Kids, Families, Schools & Communities, available through Amazon for immediate download or paperback copy.