Education Psychologist, Dr. Howard Gardner (1993) names seven different intelligences and presents the case that schools traditionally teach to only two of them – math and verbal. He identifies two other intelligences that form the basis of social and emotional literacy: intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences. Intrapersonal intelligence involves the knowing and managing of one’s own feelings. Interpersonal intelligence comprises interactions and effective communication with others. Gardner’s model is calling attention to the need to actively promote curriculum that enhances these skills. Daniel Goleman (1997) emphasizes the importance of emotional illiteracy in maturing students and prescribes the need for schools to teach self-control, persistence, and zeal. In response to Gardner and Goleman, the Lesson One intervention trains teachers to implement strategies that help children not only learn the meaning of skills such as self-control and persistence, but internalize them for use in and out of school.
Lesson One’s social-emotional theoretical foundation supports the development of prosocial attitudes and behaviors in young children. Most social-emotional awareness interventions tend to overlook elementary-aged populations and instead focus on middle and high school students (Schwartz, 2000 & Taub, 2001). Children develop conflict resolution strategies far before adolescence, and there is a strong need for Lesson One’s social-emotional awareness intervention targeted at students in grades K- 6. Schwartz (2000) describes effective school social/emotional curriculums as teaching critical social competencies: understanding and recognizing the emotions of oneself and others, predicting the consequences of personal acts, staying calm in order to think before acting, and replacing aggressive impulses with self-control and positive behavior. The Lesson One skills of self-control and self-confidence extend across theories to support the development of intrapersonal intelligence that helps children manage their own feelings. Responsibility, problem solving, and cooperation support interpersonal intelligence that helps children get along with others and care for the world around them. These skills help students develop social and emotional literacy, which provides the foundation for personal and academic success.