Social and Emotional IQ – Social Bridges at The Christ School
Matching, Calming Tools, Red/Green Light Cues, Strong Assertive Voice…..What are these terms and what do they have to do with TCS?
At The Christ School, we are intentional about teaching Social/Emotional IQ. Social IQ is the ability to successfully build relationships and navigate social environments. This ability develops from experiences with people and learning from success and failures in social settings. Emotional IQ is the ability to monitor and regulate one’s own emotions and other people’s emotions. Emotional IQ also involves the ability to differentiate between different emotions, be able to identify the feelings correctly, and to use this information to regulate behavior. At TCS, we place a large emphasis on helping students learn academic content, and at the same time, we know the ability to regulate their emotions and the quality of their relationships have an incredible impact on their lives. Knowing this, we have adopted a research-based program called Social Bridges to purposefully give students the experiences needed to build these skills.
Mrs. Gibbs serves as the lower school Social Bridges Coach. Terra Townsend and Mark Davis serve as the middle school Social Bridge Coaches and incorporate this training into their Bible classes. There are a lot of concepts taught throughout this program. Here are a few of the concepts your child has been learning.
- Matching: Matching social expectations/norms – knowing and following social rules (e.g. matching by talking about the same topic or engaging in the activity in a similar/expected manner) Activity: Flea, Fly, Mosquito! The coach leads and the students echo and match words, pace, pitch, and gestures. Then, a student takes the leadership role and chooses the pace and even changes the gestures. The purpose of this activity is to help students learn to read the social cues of other people during a conversation and also to help them understand the signals they are sending.
- Emotional Regulation: Identifying and expressing feelings appropriately and using calming tools to prevent and regulate stress (e.g. Push, Pull, Dangle or Positive Self Talk). The lower school has learned to use the terms “Tremor” and “Earthquake” to monitor when they are becoming frustrated and take corrective actions before they reach an “Earthquake” and respond inappropriately. Activity: Feelings Detective. Students identify a feeling/emotion. Then they all take turns expressing what makes them feel that way. “I feel HOPEFUL when _____.” The purpose of these activities is to learn what causes their emotions and the emotions of others to change and practice techniques to better control these emotions.
- Being Assertive: Expressing wants and needs respectfully and understanding the Passive-Assertive-Aggressive Continuum. Passive means not sharing your thoughts or opinions or not fully sharing what you truly believe. Assertive means expressing thoughts and feelings in an appropriate way that is clear, direct, and respectful. Aggressive means expressing thoughts or opinions in an inappropriate way that is physically or emotionally harmful to others. Activity: Bug and a Wish. Students learn to recognize when they feel annoyed, irritated, upset, or frustrated by something someone is doing and practicing saying (using eye contact, a strong voice/words), “It bugs me when you ____, I wish you would _____.” When students practice expressing what bothers them and what they desire to want to occur, it helps the students who are naturally passive to feel more confident expressing themselves and it creates opportunities for students who tend to be aggressive to learn how to properly express their thoughts and feelings.
- Communication: Reading and responding to social cues that give off green light signals and red light signals (nonverbal facial expression, body language, tone of voice that indicate if the person/group is engaging or not) and conversation skills – starting, joining in and maintaining conversation. Activity: Give chances to role play and WATCH (body language) and LISTEN (tone/volume) for green light cues (person wants to engage/play/talk) or red light cues (person is not ready to engage/play/talk). The students practice the life skill of “moving on” when you get a red light signal. It is always difficult to receive a “red light” cue when you try to engage another person, but when students are able to practice and learn a framework for these times they gain the ability to move on with grace and confidence.
These are a few of the activities TCS uses to help our students learn how to treat others with respect and to properly regulate their emotions. This proactive approach to developing Social and Emotional IQ helps establish the culture of TCS and prepares our students to thrive in a variety of environments.