Traditional classrooms can mimic a factory model as schools face standardized learning, testing, and evaluations. Educators who incorporate social and emotional learning and empathy into their classrooms provide positive life skills and essential tools for students.
In this film, high school physics teacher Jeffrey Wright shares the wonders of physics and the laws of the universe with his students. Wright inspires and engages his students to take an interest in the academic material in front of them. He also expresses his care and concern for his students as learners and as people. Wright's son has Joubert Syndrome, an extremely rare autosomal recessive disorder, which causes a poorly formed brainstem and affects the cerebellum, an area of the brain that controls movement, balance and coordination. Those affected by Joubert Syndrome have bodies that will not respond; yet, they can fully function intellectually. Wright shares his family life with his students. He naturally incorporates his energetic compassion at home as well as in the classroom and in the film explains that the greatest energy in the world is love.
The field of social and emotional learning, or SEL, is an educational process leading to the development of emotional intelligence. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), five components to SEL include the following: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Thousands of schools nationwide are using the "evidence-based" programs approved by CASEL.
In this film, Wright's Law, teacher Jeffrey Wright is a positive role model for his students. He exemplifies that cultivating empathy as a person and as a teacher can lead to healthy relationships for individuals, families, and communities.
Connections to National Standards
Common Core English Language Arts. SL.9-10.1 and SL.11-12.1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 [or 11-12] topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies. D2.Psy.2.9-12. Investigate human behavior from biological, cognitive, behavioral, and sociocultural perspectives.
Next Generation Science Standards. HS-LS2-8. Evaluate the evidence for the role of group behavior and individual and species' chances to survive and reproduce.