Education: Learning to Rise above Poverty 17
brought to the attention of the world by NCLB. These outcomes could all be avoided with the implementation of pedagogical practices that are theoretically and philosophically-based and directly address the social and emotional needs of students in conjunction with the academic requirements. According to Zins, Weissberg, Wang, and Walberg, social and emotional learning programs are structured around student engagement and interaction, developmentally appropriate activities, as well as applying learning to everyday situations. They have shown to increase academic achievement due to a variety of factors (Greenberg et al., 2003). The environment is a supportive atmosphere, which may include cooperative learning centers, small-group work, whole-class instruction, discussions, hands-on learning, investigations and inquiry, to name only a few. When these aspects are implemented, students are given more responsibility and make better decisions, and they experience far less stress. This then results in more confidence and increased motivation (Greenberg, et al., 2003). Once again, a cycle occurs but in this situation, the cycle is a positive one. This positive outcome would be beneficial not only to students but also to teachers, classrooms, schools, school districts, and communities. This is not only due to increased achievement, which is the sole concern of NCLB and the aspect of accountability, but also to the overall success of these students, resulting in increased social skills, graduation rates, and employment rates.
Implementing some form of social-emotional approach in the classroom could greatly change the face of education today and result in an altered future of tomorrow. Children who live in poverty are disadvantaged in so many ways, and education is one at the top of the list. When taking into consideration all of the preceding research and evidence, one can see that learning can take place in a classroom that operates like a