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Building Socioemotional Skills

In today’s world of selfies, growing impatience and the demand for instant gratification, it is refreshing to see socioemotional skills come to the forefront. In the State of California, Common Core standards address socioemotional skills as a requirement to be a 20th century scholar. Socioemotional skills include the ability to manage emotions, goal setting, empathy for others, establishing positive relationships and making responsible decisions.

Foreign language acquisition can play a positive role in building socioemotional skills. This is true regardless of whether a child is enrolled in an in-depth immersion program or simply studying a foreign language. These students have an understanding of what it feels like not to be able to speak a language proficiently. They have felt the personal struggles of going through the process. These students have learned key strategies to build their confidence as they acquire a new language. Hence, they become more sensitive to what others go through and the challenges they have to face in other areas of life. Learning about culture differences is empowering and also helps build empathy. Empathy is an important skill for all of us as a society. The earlier we learn to be empathetic to others, the better off we become.

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