Social emotional lessons introduced into Advisory


Eitan Silver

Students in Advisory using the time as a study hall during one of the bimonthly division periods.

By Eitan Silver

      Once a month, Brandon Sanchez walks into his Advisory room and is greeted by a class full of preoccupied juniors counting down the minutes until the bell rings.

      Sanchez, Div. 056, said his Advisory teacher attempts to corral the students’ attention, but the number of people that are listening gradually fades to none.

      This is a common experience for many Lane students on days when social-emotional lessons (SELs) are taught in Advisory classes, said Louise Daly, Div. 065.

      Lane has included SELs with their introduction of an additional Advisory period per month, a step up from last year’s monthly occurrence, according to Assistant Principal Ms. Hanly.

     “Once a month, there is a social-emotional lesson that is to be taught [in Advisory] based on the theme of the month. The other one is to be used as a study hall,” Hanly said.

      Each SEL revolves around a single word.  After a group discussion, students create a definition for the word. The class then shares examples and explains what the word means to them, according to Daly.

     “Recently the word was resilience and so we defined resilience and then everyone wrote down a quote or a story that reminded them of resilience,” Daly said.

     According to Hanly, a student relations committee at Lane decided on implementing SELs in order to help build the overall culture and climate of the school.

     Once confirmed, student input determined the topics that would be covered during these lessons.

In addition to reforming Lane’s atmosphere, SELs are also aimed at supporting students while they navigate through their high school life.   

     Daly dislikes SELs and says that kids who require emotional support should seek other resources instead of Advisory meetings that are mandatory for everyone.

    “I find them childish, and if someone needs help or wants to have those talks, I feel like they should offer them through the counseling department,” Daly said.      

    Sanchez says he now dreads Advisory periods due to the introduction of SELs.

     “Instead of giving us study hall, they [Lane] have given us essentially an eighth period of class that we have to deal with,” Sanchez said.

     Sanchez remembers throughout his freshman and sophomore years, Advisory would be used as a time to catch up on homework assignments or study for a big test you had later in the day.

     “They [teachers] would just let us talk, relax or do homework, which is what most kids did which is why I used to look forward to having Advisory,” Sanchez said.

     While he stresses the importance of taking the time to explore and engage in open discussion regarding these issues, Sanchez disapproves of the time and way Lane is undertaking this initiative.

     “The issues that we learn about and the social-emotional learning activities are very important to our society,” Sanchez said. “We need to know them and we need to understand why they are issues. The only thing is, this isn’t the right time to have them.”

     Daly says SELs are a misuse of time and cares more about getting her homework done than about what the topic words mean to her.

     Daly said she hopes that next year the frequency of Advisory stays the same, but desires the discontinuation of SELs and instead wants them to be replaced by another study period.

     For next year, Lane has decided to reform the way that SELs are taught in Advisory, according to Hanly.

    “We will not be doing SEL lessons like they were done this year,” Hanly said.  “We will consider what the students asked for and maybe do more assembly-type programs or workshops for interested students. One Advisory for sure will be devoted to study hall.  We are still considering what will be done.”