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All About the Book

For a long time now, a very very long time, I've only had one answer to "What are you doing these days?" and it has been "Still working on the book." It's been tougher than I could have imagined in 2020,

but of course, a few things happened(read: Pandemic) that made this process all the more difficult. But now, the book has become 3 books, and there is a much more solid plan for how to not only write but also sell it.

More about the book: This is a textbook/workbook based on social-emotional learning, (SEL) that is aimed first at 5th-7th std students in India. The primary audience for this book is low and middle-cost private schools in urban and semi-urban India. Age-appropriate editions for younger and older students and translated versions are to follow. Why SEL: There are two reasons why this field appeals to me so much.

On one hand, I know that kids today are overwhelmed. Mental health has become a big concern, and parents are struggling to help them out and speak with them about their concerns because the lives we lead today are vastly different from the device-free lives we lived 20 years ago.

On the other, they have all the same confusions about life, love and being a kid and growing into an adult that we did. Being a child isn't always easy and the time we spend on education can be so much more about these pressing concerns than about technical education which becomes obsolete fast. SEL does not. It is learning about ourselves, our relationships and our ethics that is a lifelong practice.

It's not 'extra-curricular', it should be the focus of our lives, whether we're young or old. Being an aware, kind, solid individual is what we all want, after all.

The context: The field of SEL has been around in the world for about 15-20 years and schools in the US/UK/Scandinavian countries have made it a part of their teaching. It's a fairly new field but widely accepted. The Indian SEL framework iSELF was published in 2020 and the government's new education policy of 2020 also mentions SEL, via holistic education (pg13) and NIPUN, and learning about SEL topics will soon become mainstream in India.

A few urban schools are already teaching this subject with the help of school counsellors. The main challenges in this field are: 1) Heavy, complex research without a clear consensus on pedagogical frameworks across nations 2) Activities with children which are “black-boxed" or the core concepts are hidden from children 3) Not much simply written material that everyone can access and understand, without the dilution of concepts.

4) Resources available online are primarily for western classroom audiences, so the cultural and social nuances of India and other LMICs (low and middle-income countries) are hard to capture

The Research: This book is based on research in education, psychology and neuroscience, easily understood by children (and so, also by teachers) and set in the Indian context. Schools and the general public will be able to buy this book. The book has four types of SEL content for 10-13 yr olds: 1) Simply written information 2) Engaging illustrations and 3) Group activity prompts for the classroom

4) Reflection worksheets and space for individual children in the book The Plan: There are 5 sections that correspond to each of the 5 SEL competencies as outlined by CASEL or iSELF. Around 6 discussion topics, 6 group activities and 3 individual activities are under each section. Teachers can build on these in class.

When a school orders a book, Jump Design India will conduct teacher trainings based on the book so that many teachers can use it to increase the reach and understanding of SEL in India. The training will provide teachers with reading resources, more group activity ideas for classrooms, & questions that can be asked around each page and a community to engage with other teachers in the SEL space.

Parents will receive parenting tips around SEL via email and information about mental health resources in their city/town in a periodic manner.


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