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Teaching Literacy and Character Go Hand in Hand

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    EL Education

“Social-emotional learning helps students feel more comfortable making mistakes, talking and listening to one another, and giving them the language to do that confidently,” said Christina Riley.

When Christina Riley moved from the U.K. to Japan, she didn’t realize she was transitioning from teaching in a country with a nationally recognized curriculum to an international school without one. All she had in this new role was a set of standards and a shelf full of novels, and this sparked a wave of compassion for teachers who had the formidable task of teaching while inventing their own curriculum.

Riley turned that compassion into a career and is now the director of curriculum design at EL Education, an education model formerly known as Expeditionary Learning that emphasizes project-based learning and character development in students. The model itself is used in 160 schools, impacting nearly 1 million students over 25 years. The K-8 literacy curriculum the EL team designed reaches nearly 150,000 students through what the organization calls literacy partnerships in districts like Detroit and Wake County, North Carolina.

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