Creating a classroom environment that develops students’ social- and emotional-learning skills.

“Social- and emotional-learning is more important than ever because the future will demand our students possess skills for jobs that have not even been created yet. We need to prepare them by ensuring that they are self-confident learners who can develop and share ideas with others.

“I create this environment in my classroom by helping students to develop a strong foundation of academic resiliency, the ability to persist with a problem or idea no matter what the obstacle; self advocacy, the ability to be confident in your ideas and interests and to express them in emotionally mature and empathetic ways; and interpersonal skills, the ability to share ideas and interests with others and to listen and support their peers in their own learning.

“Focusing on these essential social- and emotional-skills helps students to understand that they can continue to be successful.

“This belief—and the ability to learn everyday in a classroom free of judgment so that this belief can flourish—helps students face immediate challenges and prepares them for their future success.”

Leigh VandenAkker

Leigh M. VandenAkker is Utah’s 2012 Teacher of The Year and winner of Utah’s 2011 Golden Apple Award. She is a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Huntsman Award. As co-author of Techniques for Tough Times™, Leigh has trained teachers nationwide, pr... Full Bio