Giving Compass' Take:

• Sheldon Berman has been a superintendent for twenty-five years.  He shares various lessons about his experience with social-emotional learning. 

• How can this list help us find gaps in social-emotional learning that educators can fix? Does the list show potential growth areas? 

• Learn about the incorporation of AR and VR technology into social-emotional learning models. 

Across a 25-year career, I've served as a superintendent in four varied districts and over time, my work has taught me a number of important lessons that are key to ensuring the success of social and emotional learning efforts, particularly when the goal is districtwide implementation.

  • Take Time to Plan: Structuring the social environment of the classroom and school requires the same level of planning for consistency that we provide for the academic curriculum.
  • Build Community in the Classroom: Social skills curricula build a valuable base, but social and emotional learning requires that teachers create caring, inclusive and socially instructive classroom communities.
  • Integrate Social and Emotional Learning into Academic Instruction: Opportunities to build students' social and emotional skills should be intentionally embedded throughout the academic curriculum.
  •  Highlight Your Classroom's Cultural Diversity:  Enabling students to make their cultural identities visible within the classroom and honoring the richness that the diversity of cultural perspectives brings to learning are essential elements of creating safe and affirming classrooms.
  • Leverage Learning Through Service: Service learning deepens the meaningfulness and value of social and emotional learning beyond the classroom. Students benefit from authentic vehicles for demonstrating their social skills and their sense of caring.
  • Productive Discipline Methods are Critical:  In a classroom and school community that focuses on relationships and learning, errors in judgment and behavior need to be addressed through logical consequences and restorative practices.
  • Develop Social and Emotional Skills in Adults: As well as learning how to foster social and emotional learning for students, teachers and administrators need training and guided practice in modeling social skills and more.
  • Articulate a Strong, Clear Vision―and Follow Through: Articulating a vision of the possible, providing a rationale for pursuing this work, and ensuring that policy and structural supports are in place are powerful statements of the administrator's commitment to prioritizing social and emotional learning.

Read the full article about social-emotional learning by Sheldon Berman at Education Week