Education: Learning to Rise above Poverty 9
skills, and to be able to diagnose certain student behaviors and why they occur. These skills are also required of psychologists and counselors. Therefore, the occupations are similar. At the least, their duties are similar. One other especially important aspect of both professions and professional settings is the concept of a safe haven. It is important to remember that when stressful situations arise, we are comforted by a safe environment and the company of a listener. When a student comes into the classroom with a heavy load of stress, that student can be comforted by the teacher and peers, as well as the safe haven of the classroom. This is true when the social-emotional approach is effectively implemented in the classroom. Teachers must employ social skills in the classroom to be truly effective educators. This is reiterated in Bryant and Maxwell’s research. They state that the manner in which students are taught is critical their learning. They are able to reach levels of achievement that were previously thought of as out of reach when the teachers were effective in their practices (Bryant & Maxwell, 1999). Helping a child deal with stressful situations by creating a safe environment can greatly increase a teacher’s effectiveness.
This leads to another pressing question. Are teachers capable of teaching social and emotional skills? To begin, the social-emotional classroom approach must be defined. This approach refers to teaching and modeling effective communication skills, such as active listening, discussion, and collaboration. It also includes cooperation in groups, reasoning, problem-solving, proper manners, self-regulation, self-monitoring, and responsibility. Greenberg, Weissberg, O’Brien, Zins, Fredericks, Resnik, and Elias (2003) discussed the importance of implementing this type of approach in order to promote good work habits and engagement in society and community. Lawrence