Ep. 187: What is Social Learning? with Fran Kenton

May 28, 2024 | 0 comments

In today’s episode, I’m thrilled to have Fran Kenton with us to discuss social emotional learning (SEL). Fran holds a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology, along with credentials in General and Special Education, and is a Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is the founder of Autonome, a dynamic and interactive SEL program designed for teens and young adults.

In our conversation today, we’ll explore how Fran's unique approach can cultivate crucial skills in kids and teens. She shares insights on what motivated her to focus on SEL, the importance of understanding what motivates a child, and how SEL encompasses a broad range of life skills. We’ll discuss the proven benefits of SEL, its integration into curriculum, and why these skills are best taught in an educational setting where all children can be reached.

Recognizing a critical gap in traditional education, Fran founded Autonome to integrate SEL and mindfulness practices into the learning experience. Her innovative approach equips young people with the necessary skills to manage life's complexities, fostering self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, social awareness, and relationship skills. These competencies form the foundation of Autonome’s program, reflecting a culmination of Fran’s experiences.

Join us as Fran Kenton shares her vision for empowering young people with the tools they need to navigate life successfully. 

Show Notes:

  • [1:53] – Fran has culminated all her experiences as an educator and counselor. She shares what has inspired her to put her focus on social-emotional learning.
  • [3:45] – In the early years of her career as an educator, Fran found herself drawn to helping students who struggled with social-emotional learning.
  • [6:28] – We need to know what motivates a child to truly engage them in learning.
  • [8:12] – Oftentimes when parents see their child struggling, there is a tendency to focus on academic performance. But that’s not the only thing we should look at.
  • [10:12] – Social-emotional learning is an umbrella that encompasses a series of skills and competencies to successfully navigate life in general.
  • [11:44] – There are five broad interrelated SEL competencies: self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, social awareness, and relationship skills.
  • [14:44] – Research and data support social-emotional learning.
  • [16:15] – It has been shown that school is the best place to learn these skills because more children can be reached. These skills don’t necessarily come naturally.
  • [17:59] – SAFE is an acronym for Sequence, Active, Focused, and Explicit.
  • [21:26] – Parents and families need to learn these skills as well in order to reinforce them at home.
  • [22:28] – Before we can manage any task and emotion, we have to stop and tune in to what we are sensing at that moment and understand our perception.
  • [24:40] – Mindfulness is the beginning. Then we need to move forward with tools to manage emotions and tasks.
  • [26:01] – Fran explains her motivation and inspiration in founding Autonome.
  • [29:04] – Autonome’s program can be integrated into a school’s curriculum and teachers do not need any formal training to be able to use it.
  • [31:24] – It is important for parents to understand that these skills are not natural. They need to be taught and modeled.

About Our Guest:

Fran Kenton, M.A. in Educational Psychology with credentials in general and special education, is the founder of Autonome, a social emotional learning (SEL) program for teens and young adults. With a background as a middle school teacher and counselor in the Lawndale School District, Fran has extensive experience working with at-risk youth. She later continued her career in the Las Virgenes Unified School District, focusing on special needs students and co-creating the Transition Curriculum to aid their post-high school transitions. Certified as a Health and Wellness Coach, she also provides life coaching services and works with The Robert and Susan Kozlowski L.I.F.T. Foundation. Fran's dedication to integrating SEL and mindfulness into education led to the creation of Autonome, aimed at equipping young people with essential life skills.

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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.