Social-emotional learning

Educational travel as a social-emotional learning strategy

It can feel like an overwhelmingly impossible task to support our students’ social-emotional learning in order to prepare them to be future-ready after graduation. Often, I hear from educators who are wondering what opportunities they can leverage to enhance this future-readiness for their students. Their goal is to help them establish essential skills like problem solving, collaboration, and communication—skills that they will need to be successful in a global economy. My response: educational travel.

In fall 2022, EF Educational Tours commissioned a survey conducted online by The Harris Poll to find out what kinds of skills and educational experiences parents wanted their children to have. (Check out an infographic with some of the survey’s key findings here.) Over 900 American parents of varied geographic, ethnic, and economic backgrounds shared their thoughts.

98% of parents cited critical academic skills like math, reading, and writing as important subjects for their children to learn. What was especially interesting to us? Parents felt real-world skills like social-emotional well-being (96%), mental flexibility (96%), and self-leadership skills (97%) were almost as important! The most impactful data reported was that 90% of surveyed parents thought that educational travel can help students develop these much needed, career-ready, real world skills—things like adaptability, social-emotional intelligence, and problem-solving.

It’s something we’ve wholeheartedly believed in at EF since our inception almost 60 years ago: The opportunity to get outside of the classroom to practice these skills, especially after kids were cooped up inside and isolated for almost two years, is life-changing.

As we focus on enabling this essential skill-building, we look to quantify the learning outcomes for each student who travels with us in what we call our EF G²PA, comprised of our research-backed, travel-based learning outcomes that cover the full spectrum of social-emotional learning. Every G²PA is unique because every traveler gains something different on tour, and outcomes include growth mindset, global perspective, personal development, and action and impact. (You can dive deeper here.) At the end of the day, our goal is to partner with you to help you meet your goal of graduating future-ready students who are better prepared for the real world.

For more information about this article, contact Michele Ahouse, Director of Strategic Partnerships, EF Education First at 617-429-7554 or [email protected].

Michele Ahouse

Michele Ahouse is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at EF Educational Tours and has been working with administrators across the country for more than seven years to build travel-based learning programs. She’s passionate about closing the opportunity gap for students and helping educators build their own global competency in order to create future-ready graduates. She’s traveled to 30 countries, with Lithuania and Panama being her favorites. Next up is the Dominican Republic.

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