Student Well-Being

How the Golden State Warriors Can Help Explain Social-Emotional Learning

By Evie Blad — June 22, 2017 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A few years ago, after Stanford professor Carol Dweck spoke at Education Week‘s Leaders to Learn From Event, attendees swarmed around her, eager to discuss her ideas about learning and student motivation. It can be exciting to have an idea like growth mindsets explained so clearly and in such an applicable way, and that has made Dweck kind of a rock star to some teachers.

But while professional educators were eager to pick the brain of a respected academic, I suspect young students would get more enthused by people they already spend a lot of time talking about, like, well, actual rock stars. Or professional athletes.

Good news. NBA champions the Golden State Warriors are not only heroic athletes to many kids, they are also great examples of the character traits students need to succeed in the classroom and in life, according to a blog post published by the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley.

“Indeed, Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr has deliberately shaped the Warriors’ team culture around four core values: joy, mindfulness, compassion, and competition,” writes Greater Good Editor Jason Marsh. Marsh unpacks the research behind the team’s approach.

Mindfulness, a deliberate focus on the present moment, helps Warriors stay focused during high-stakes games, he writes. As my colleague Sarah Sparks wrote recently, some schools are also using mindfulness strategies to help students overcome anxiety, particularly over testing.

The Warriors are also known for their “strength in numbers” approach. And there’s science behind that cooperation and empathy, the post says. People have an instinct to cooperate, Marsh writes, and “research suggests that people experience greater pleasure after succeeding as part of a team than they do on their own. That might be at least partly because, in certain situations, seeing other people smile seems to activate the same brain regions as when you smile yourself, flooding you with happy feelings.”

Of course, the Warriors might not be the best example for students in Cleveland. But they do offer a concrete example of why emotions and relationships matter.

What other examples might teachers turn to? Grit researcher Angela Duckworth likes to cite this Will Smith interview about perseverance. In the past, I’ve turned to celebrity commencement speeches for examples. Where have you seen these concepts in the real world?

Photo: Golden State Warriors players, coaches and owners hold up the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy after Game 5 of basketball’s NBA Finals between the Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Oakland, Calif., June 12. Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Related reading about social-emotional learning:

Follow @evieblad on Twitter or subscribe to Rules for Engagement to get blog posts delivered directly to your inbox.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Opinion Educators, Be Future-Ready, But Don’t Ignore the Present
Being ready for what lies ahead is important, but we also need to gain a better understanding of the here and now.
5 min read
shutterstock 226918177
Student Well-Being Opinion How to Prioritize Student Well-Being This Year
Use the Student Thriving Index to find out where your kids stand. Because you cannot manage what you cannot measure.
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Student Well-Being Spotlight Spotlight on Supporting Teachers & Students
In this Spotlight, evaluate your district and what supports your schools offer, assess attendance policies to avoid burnout, and more
Student Well-Being What the Research Says Child Hospitalizations Spike Under Delta, Particularly in Low-Vaccination States
Nationwide, the number of children and teens hospitalized due to COVID-19 has ballooned nearly tenfold since midsummer, new CDC data show.
2 min read
hopital stethescope 1222194507
Aleksandr Titov/iStock/Getty