Giving Compass' Take:

•  Kristen Kopczynski, writing for Getting Smart, discusses essential tips for educators to utilize to implement SEL successfully in the classroom. 

• SEL can help students establish and maintain healthy, positive relationships. Why are these characteristics paramount to learn for the future workforce?

• Read about how to measure social-emotional learning. 

Social and emotional learning (“SEL”) is a practice and a way of educating that is being incorporated into more and more schools. The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotion Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

In other words, it is a type of learning in which students can gain knowledge and practice around real life skills that are outside of the usual content area classes. These skills are just as essential to be successful in higher education or the workforce so it seems natural to include them as part of the education of young people.

Here are some things schools and teachers can do to make sure their SEL programs are effective:

  • Allow Time to Practice SEL topics can be introduced through direct instruction of important ideas and skills such as managing your emotions, understanding mindset, and collaborating with others; however, providing opportunities for students to practice and apply these skills is essential for making them relevant and accessible to their daily lives.
  • Make SEL Instruction Relevant There are SEL curricula out there to provide the foundation for a successful SEL program. The more relevant the curriculum is to the students, the more they will buy in to the ideas of SEL. As much as it is possible, curriculum should be modified to be relevant and applicable to the student population to which it is being taught.
  • Incorporate SEL Throughout the School In an ideal world, SEL would live in some form in every classroom throughout the school and all teachers would be trained to be able to incorporate even small SEL practices or examples into their content area classes.
  • Use Data The use of data can help inform SEL instruction and measure outcomes of SEL programs. Many schools use the DESSA (Devereux Student Strengths Assessment), a standardized, strengths-based assessment from Aperture Education that measures the social and emotional competence of students as rated by an adult at the school (teacher, social worker, etc.).

Read the full article about implementing SEL by Kristen Kopczynski at Getting Smart.