Social and Emotional Growth

Asking Questions and Active Listening

A student’s social and emotional growth significantly impacts their academic achievement; each is equally important.

When kids develop the ability to successful interact with peers and adults in their community it makes a difference. When kids gain a sense of ownership and purpose within a community it makes a difference. And, when kids feel as though they are a valued member of a community because of their contributions and service to others it makes a difference. New York Academy is committed to growing our students social and emotional growth. New York Academy is committed to our School Community.

Knowing our kids is the key. We are able to know and understand ourkidson a social and emotional level simply by asking insightful questions and actively listening. The aim is to gain perspective and empathy as to how they feel about themselves; in other words, how do they feel and how to they see themselves fitting in and being valued members of our community. Having a sense of perspective and empathy is important.

The following questions are effective prompts to engage kids in conversation and support their social and emotional growth:


  • How are you feeling?
  • How can we help you feel welcomed at school?
  • How do you like to be greeted?
  • What strengths do you bring to classrooms? The school?
  • What do you like most about school? What would you like to see changed?


  • When do you feel confident in school and among classmates? Among teachers?
  • Do you feel you are being listened to?
  • Do you feel your voice is respected?
  • Do you feel cared for and about?
  • Do you get a chance to be a leader?
  • Do you feel safe/unsafe?
  • When do you laugh at school?


  • What is your contribution to the school?
  • Who believes you can succeed?
  • What happens in school that makes you afraid? Frustrated? Defeated?
  • When do you feel challenged and supported?
  • What inspires you in school?
  • Who helps you bounce back from setbacks?
  • Who is always happy to speak with you?
  • When do you feel it’s OK to make a mistake, or show that you don’t know something or how to do something?


At New York Academy we ask questions such as these often, and we are committed to being active listeners. We demonstrate active listening when we look at the person speaking and ask more questions based upon what the person has said; and then we listen some more.

Think About It. Active listening affirms thoughts and ideas and shows that we care. Kids need to express their thoughts and feelings without being given advise.

Showing that we, as teachers and parents, truly care because we ask questions and actively listen gives a kid a sense that we trustworthy.

When we know and understand our kids on a social and emotional level, we can help them find answers to questions that really matter. Such questions are essential to gaining perspective and empathy to support a kid’s social and emotional growth.

The questions above were referenced from an article published by the digital newsletter Edutopia,
George Lucas Foundation
“Important Questions to Ask Your Students”
by Maurice J. Elias
July 30, 2018

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