All educators, not just those who teach in a traditional classroom, have a critical role to play in the social and emotional wellness of the next generation. And beyond the traditional classroom, more American youth choose to spend their time involved in athletics than any other activity. Isn’t it time that we stopped viewing athletics (and arts, robotics, community service, etc) as “co-curricular”?
That is what Rick Tune, Athletic Director at The Punahou School in Hawaii is working on as he develops a human skills learning scaffold that can be used by all athletic teachers and coaches. Regardless of the sport, says Rick, athletics has a key role to play in focusing on the development of these critical life skills. “These outcomes are at the core of what we believe in developing the whole child”, says Rick. “Great coaches have always known that social/emotional skills and winning go hand in hand.”
Rick and others in the coaching and student advisory staff at Punahou are using a powerful new tool developed by non-profit, P/ATH Sports as a core pillar of this focus. P/ATH offers a free library of short (3-4 minute) videos featuring famous Olympic and professional athletes and coaches offering their own perspectives on important social and emotional skills, along with ways that individuals and teams can put the learning into action. Using these free videos, coaches can take just a few minutes a week to help student-athletes build their strengths in critical life skills that also improve performance on the court or field. Rick says that hearing these messages directly from famous, successful influencers is “often just more powerful than hearing it from a teacher or parent”.
Coaches are ideally placed to build learning around commonly-adopted rubrics like the CASEL Wheel of social and emotional learning. After all, traits like confidence, resilience, collaboration, respect, and empathy are widely viewed as those that help teams win, as well as providing a healthy athletic experience for both students and adults. The P/ATH library provides playlists of their videos which are mapped directly to the CASEL Wheel so coaches can meet their program’s SEL standards.
Francis Parker School is another where middle and high school coaches have started using the ever-growing P/ATH video library. Assistant AD and legendary volleyball coach John Herman, says that the video library dramatically simplified his own work and his ability to deliver key life skills messages to his classes and teams:
The P/ATH video library is now being used by dozens of schools and colleges around the country, and is currently undergoing an impact research study funded by The Search Institute; results will be made available late this spring. In the meantime; check out the free video library and use them with your teams or advisory groups!