SEL and the Covid19 pandemic

Patty McLain
As schools navigate the inevitable shifts and changes after the Covid 19 pandemic, teachers and students will need SEL more than ever. The social and emotional impact of the pandemic can be very different for each school, each class, and each student so SEL is the best way to cultivate the skills that will benefit everyone. Some students have been fully isolated and engaged in remote or virtual learning while others have large families and may have had opportunities for in person or hybrid learning. The actual scenarios vary widely but the core competencies for SEL apply in every one because the purpose of social and emotional learning is to provide skills that are flexible and applicable in any situation.  

Although SEL can help students in many ways, let’s take a look at a few things that will benefit everyone moving forward from the pandemic. 

First, SEL will help students manage their stress and emotions as they return to settings that can be unfamiliar and/or triggering. With its emphasis on health well-being and regulation, SEL will ensure that students have tools to navigate their emotional experience.

Next, SEL helps students build healthy relationships and that connection with others will be a key component to supporting growth and healing both personally and academically.

SEL also helps with empathy and understanding differences so that students can work together to create their experience going forward while honoring the fact that everyone may be on a different page depending on what they experienced during the pandemic.  

SEL skills also help foster resilience and can give students strategies and tools to navigate challenges and setbacks and that will be necessary going forward into the unknown as the world makes sense of the shifts and creates new policies, procedures, and systems. 

Overall, the goal of schools going forward will be to ensure that their students feel supported, seen, regulated, and encouraged so they can thrive and SEL lays the foundation for all of that. 

How do you see SEL helping you moving forward?

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