SEL, which stands for social and emotional learning, has been a big part of teaching for a long time. But because the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects are still being felt in classrooms, we’ve learned how important SEL strategies are. Students come to class with different educational skills and learning gaps but also need more emotional support than ever before.
Research indicates that SEL strategies help students deal with stress and bad feelings and improve their school behavior. SEL strategies not only help learners feel better emotionally, but they also help them do better in school. In an EdWeek poll, 83 percent of the teachers who answered said that it helps their students.
What are SEL (Social Emotional Learning) strategies in education?
The Collaborative for Academic and Emotional Learning says that SEL strategies for the classroom should focus on five key areas (CASEL). These five types of skills are:
- Responsible decision making
- Relationship skills
- Social awareness
When you include SEL strategies in teaching and learning, students start to:
- Create positive identities
- Understand and control their feelings
- Make good decisions.
- Set and reach goals
- Create relationships that help.
- Comprehend empathy
If you help kids and teens work on these skills, they will be better prepared for life after K–12. Providing your students with a safe and fair environment will help them do well in school and feel good about it.
What are some standout SEL practices?
There are many ways to teach SEL in the classroom, but the ones below can be used in any subject or grade level. Begin including one or two strategies and see how they change your learning.
Have daily check-ins
Daily check-ins are one way to teach SEL skills in the classroom. These allow learners to be heard and make it easier to talk about their feelings. The check-ins also let your students know you care about how they feel, creating confidence in the classroom.
Regular check-ins also let you see how learners feel about what you’re teaching, how well they’re doing, or what problems they’re having. You can also suggest ways to solve problems if they come up. Check-ins don’t have to take up a lot of time and, therefore, can happen at the start of class, after such an activity, or even at the end of class.
You can ask students to write in a journal, fill out a graphic organizer, or rate their feelings. Learners can even use a Google Doc or Form to check in digitally. You can also ask learners of any age to choose an emoji that shows their feelings.
Include times to reflect on a growth mindset.
Teaching people about a strong mentality helps them realize that making mistakes is normal and that there are no failures, only chances to get better. Journal prompts are useful for pupils to keep thinking about what they have learned.
You can give learners ideas for writing about challenges they are facing and ask them to have a growth mindset. You can also read the stories regarding growth mindset to young students and ask them questions to get them talking.
Highlight good behavior.
When you consistently praise good behavior in the classroom, you’ll make it easier for everyone to make good decisions. The students will know their expectations and learn more about themselves. You’ll also construct trust and help people learn how to make good decisions. You can even ask your pupils to point out good behavior in each other.
Celebrate the cultures and backgrounds of your students and those of the whole school and neighborhood. This gets students to think about different points of view and try to understand their classmates and teachers. It also gives them a chance to feel strong about who they are.
Consider putting different pictures on the walls, door, hallway, and website. Discuss different cultures, choose different texts, and give students a chance to discuss their origins. Local experts can also come to their classrooms or discuss their heritage over video calls.
SEL anchor charts should be shown.
Make a hook chart to keep records of ideas when you and your students talk about SEL skills. Then put up the chart so the class can see it all year. Please put it on the wall in their classroom or incorporate it in a digital world that students visit daily. As the year goes on, as students improve their SEL skills and develop more ideas, you could add them to the anchor chart.
Establish and monitor objectives.
Another important SEL strategy is to have learners set goals and keep track of their progress. Learners can set goals for the school year, a couple of weeks, a unit, or a lesson and track their progress. This gives students a better idea of their learning and lets them take charge of their progress.
The Hapara Student Dashboard allows learners to take charge of their learning and track their progress toward goals. This platform helps them keep track of everything they need to learn. Students can keep track of their successes and problems because all of their class work, notices, emails, and deadlines are on a single dashboard.
Use peer-to-peer learning
Partner and group work is an important way for students to learn how to get along with others and make good decisions. Before starting cooperative learning, it’s important to set expectations and help students make them. These rules should include talking to teammates, listening to them, asking them questions, and giving them good feedback.
When you need to, return to the shared expectations so students feel safe and can talk about SEL skills. Hapara Workspace is a platform that lets you make online lessons, projects, or units with activities that can be done individually or as a group.
Learners can use digital resources and share Google files to work together. They can also email their group members directly from Workspace, which works to help them learn how to communicate well and build relationships.
Asking students to part in what they are thankful for helps them become more socially aware and boosts their self-esteem. It also helps them get to know each other better in the classroom. Kids often think about what’s wrong, but practicing gratitude did help them think about what’s right.
Learners can make an alphabetical list of things those who are grateful for, add sticky notes to a “Gratitude” wall, compose an email thanking someone, make a collage, or start writing in a gratitude journal.
Do mindfulness exercises.
Learners can improve their self-awareness by giving them even a short amount of time to focus on mindfulness. After lunch, recess, P.E., or an assembly, giving them a minute to take deep breaths can help them prepare for a class activity.
Asking students to relax their eyes and assume what they hear, odor, and feel helps them pay attention. You can also help learners calm down by asking them to think about a happy time or place. You can do this whenever a student seems anxious and needs a moment to calm down.
Rotate classroom responsibilities.
Consider giving students jobs in the classroom, like assisting in passing out supplies, arranging the classroom library, or helping absent students. These jobs can make them feel proud and make the classroom community stronger. Make sure to switch up the roles in the classroom so that each student can do something different.
Include art activities
The visual and performing arts are excellent ways for students to connect with their emotions and reduce stress. Art can also assist them in getting to know their classmates better and seeing things from a different point of view. Provide an opportunity for students to draw, paint, sculpt, make digital art in Google Drawing, construct models, and create online models.