World Language Classes Use Social and Emotional Learning Days

Designed+by+Mililani+Times

Designed by Mililani Times

Emma Lee

     With the start of second semester, Mililani High School enforced a new bell schedule for online learning. The change included adding social and emotional learning (SEL) days, or E Days, when students attend all seven class periods for 30 minutes to talk openly with teachers and classmates. World language teachers, in particular, are using this designated time to connect with students as well as encourage practicing speaking their respective languages.

     “They (the school) had become aware that there are many students who are really struggling, not just with school, but just with all kinds of things in general. And so, it was decided that we should use the E Days, to sort of use it as an opportunity to connect more with students,” said Japanese teacher Corey Zukeran.

     The schedule involves alternating odd and even class periods every day, with each day corresponding to a letter. A Day, for example, consists of periods one, three, five, and seven. The E Days were incorporated into the few five day school weeks in the third quarter, the first of which was on January 15, 2021.

     “I feel like normal classes, they’re (classmates are) definitely a lot quieter. And I think being on E Day, and everyone knowing that that’s the time to get to know each other — I feel like that kind of made everyone want to talk more and open up more,” said junior Veronica (Bella) Guiney, a Spanish 3 student.

     In Guiney’s Spanish class, E Day was a time in which students separated into breakout rooms to share their New Year’s resolutions. This discussion was part of their earlier assignment in which they wrote “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals for their resolutions using specific grammar forms and vocabulary in Spanish. 

     “Well, the focus for E Day is SEL as well, so I can’t be a complete stickler for grammar on those days. And it just depends on what my focus is. So if that day, my focus was connection, right? The social-emotional learning. Then I would of course, Spanglish/English is okay. My one thing was I don’t want silence in any of the breakout rooms,” said Spanish teacher Kehaulani White, also known as Señora Blanco by her students.

     Japanese classes also utilized E Day to practice the language or do cultural activities relating to New Year’s as well. In Zukeran’s class, students were taught encouraging phrases and expressions of praise in Japanese, but also given the opportunity to share about how they are doing in English.

     “And it’s kinda hard to share difficult, or things that are harder to express, in the target language, Japanese. So, what I had asked was that she (the substitute teacher) should just have the students share in English, but at the same time use it as a learning opportunity to teach students some phrases of encouragement and some expressions of praise and that type of thing so that we could sort of tie that into the social-emotional aspect,” said Zukeran.

     The next E Day will be on March 5. White plans to use the time for classmates to check up on each other’s progress with their New Year’s resolutions, while Zukeran is considering using the time to discuss Girls’ Day, or Hinamatsuri, which is a special day for girls in Japan on March 3. The new schedule can be found on the school website on mililanihs.org.