Walking the Talk of Balance

Submitted By:
Jessica Flaxman, Nashoba Brooks School, Concord, MA

Talk of social-emotional learning in schools has been underway for decades. Newer to the discussion in schools is the topic of academic wellness. In Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World, Ana Homayoun offers useful suggestions to teachers and parents helping young people manage their technology-saturated social and academic lives. Homayoun takes a particularly empathic and realistic approach to a problematic irony students face today – “the device they need to use to complete their work is their biggest distraction from getting work done.” In eight highly-readable chapters, she reviews the history of social media and its impact on tweens and teens before turning her attention to the specific things adults can do to teach and model healthy academic habits. Chapter five, on academic wellness, delivers exercises aimed at helping students to compartmentalize their lives into the categories of work, fun, and rest. Using virtual folders and IRL (in-real-life) binders, students can bring order to the steady flow of information, assignments, and feedback they receive on a daily basis in school. Additional best practices include monotasking, use of the Pomodoro Technique (25 minutes on task, 5 minutes off), and avoidance of toggling back and forth between textbooks, apps, and worksheets. Perhaps most important is for teachers and parents to walk the talk of balance and wellness in schools and life.

Social-Emotional Learning
Student Wellness & Safety