Giving Compass' Take:

• Social-emotional learning (SEL) will be critical for students during a pandemic. Here are four practices to help educators make space for SEL in virtual classrooms. 

• How will SEL be able to address the needs of students during this time? 

• Read more about the benefits of SEL for students. 

Finding areas to focus on that we know will be beneficial to students regardless of where learning is happening is important. One such area that I think is critical at this time is to build in opportunities for students to develop their social-emotional learning (SEL) skills and to provide ongoing support for our students. Research done by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) showed that by providing opportunities that address the five competencies of SEL, increases student academic performance.

Embedding activities into the curriculum that will address these skills is critical. All educators can build in activities to help students to build SEL skills as it is not specific to any grade level or content area. When it comes to student agency, social-emotional learning helps students to work through challenges, develop their own workflow, and be able to understand their skills and the steps they need to take to grow. It helps them to develop their independence in learning and advocacy skills. As we think about the look of school for this year, many students will be working independently during asynchronous formats where they will have opportunities to develop their skills in these areas.

In a remote or virtual environment, we can leverage some of the different tools and resources that are available to help students develop SEL skills. We can also use these options for creating a sense of belonging which is important for students.

Here are four ideas for creating space to build SEL skills.

  1. Check-ins.
  2. Collaborations.
  3. Reflections.
  4. Interactive lessons.

By starting the year with some of these ideas for creating spaces for students to interact, we can provide those essential supports that students will need. Through options like these, we will help to create and foster a sense of community and belonging, which then leads students to develop the social-emotional skills they need.

Read the full article about meeting SEL needs virtually by Rachelle Dene Poth at Getting Smart.