SEL: Essential Skills for Teachers

Why is SEL essential for teachers and students? 

Social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making are essential for teachers to learn and practice. These skills help teachers handle more challenging students, improve student learning, and interact positively with others in the school environment.  SEL competencies allows teachers to manage their own stress and support caring relationships with others.   Warm and safe classroom environments along with strong classroom management skills can lessen student behavior problems, reduce emotional distress for the teacher, grow student connectedness to school, and increase student’s capacity to learn which can boost academic outcomes.

SEL helps create a positive school culture through the development of empathy, compassion, and gratitude.  Having teachers who know how to build strong supportive relationships with students, colleagues, and parents, deal effectively with conflict, set firm but respectful boundaries, and regularly demonstrate kind, helpful behavior to those around them.

A teacher with solid SEL skills are more likely to sustain their passion for teaching.  Their classrooms practice respectful communication and problem solving; transitions from activity to activity go smoothly, lessons are designed to encourage student engagement and love of learning which promote academic achievement.  A teacher with SEL skills recognizes their students’ emotions, have insight into what is causing them, respond with compassionate understanding, and re-direct the students’ behavior appropriately.

A vital component of teaching SEL skills to children is modeling them in everyday situations.  By cultivating their own self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making, teachers will be better equipped to model and teach their students.

How can I use SEL in the classroom? 

SEL class meetings that incorporate deep breathing techniques, greetings, sharing, and team building activities only take about 20 minutes of time on a regular basis and it is time well spent! SEL class meetings sessions are a flexible structure that create a more respectful environment in classrooms and students are open to being supportive of each other plus they add a positive vibe to the classroom!

Training for SEL class meeting sessions provides a brief introduction to SEL, how to incorporate SEL into daily interactions with others and familiarizes teachers with a structure for building community in their classroom using the five SEL competencies.

This graphic shows how SEL can be incorporated into an educational system not just a classroom.  It is important to think through all of these aspects of SEL as you are building a structure to support it within a school system.


Contact me if you are interested in finding out more about SEL Class Meeting Session Training or how to build a SEL support system in your classroom, school, or district!