According to Melissa Ausbrooks, the team leader, the group knew they had to engage the teacher candidates on the SEL learning modules, to let them see the modules “not just as another assignment, but as knowledge they are hungry to learn.” Working with focus teacher candidates in the development process, Dr. Ausbrooks found that powerful videos could provide such engagement. Self-Awareness is basic to SEL, and the videos prompted discussions and responses from teacher candidates leading to introspection.
The first video the teacher candidates viewed was during a face-to-face orientation. The video portrayed two school environments. In the first episode, students were dismissed, reprimanded and ignored, receiving the message that they do not matter. In the second episode, all school personnel from the principal to the cafeteria worker welcomed the children to school and let them know they were valued. After viewing the video, one student exclaimed, “That’s why I’m here!” Dr. Ausbrooks knew she had him hooked! All teacher candidates reflected on their experiences as students and were able to relate those experiences to their decision to become teachers. The orientation session enabled them to look inside themselves as they began their study of social and emotional learning.