SEL Looks Like This (elementary edition)

Janna Nobleza
SEL, or social and emotional learning, focuses on who you are as an individual and the relationships you have with the people and world around you. Using SEL in an elementary school focuses on three main elements:
1. The classroom environment
2. Vocabulary to understand themselves
3. Tools to interact with others

Let's go through these in more detail.
First, the school and classroom environment. Teachers and administrators need to create a safe and caring learning environment where all students can feel a sense of belonging. Students are not able to learn about themselves fully and feel comfortable relating to others if their emotions are dismissed, they worry about being shamed or they don’t feel successful. You can create a safe and caring environment by bringing in culturally responsive and equitable teaching practices as well as finding flexible options so each of your students can be successful.

Second, giving students the vocabulary and support they need to learn about themselves. This means teaching students about emotional awareness and developing the tools they need to manage their emotions, learn about setting goals for themselves, and reflect on their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

Thirdly, teaching students how to relate to the people and world around them. Educators need to model and teach good relationship and social awareness skills by providing ample opportunities for students to work in groups, play learning games together, collaborate and learn about healthy teamwork.

When you walk into a classroom where a teacher is dedicated to SEL, you will find a peace space: students sitting in groups and working together, diverse cultures and identities represented on the posted classroom materials and curriculum, and a teacher who believes in teaching responsible decision-making. She doesn’t use punishment, shame, or embarrassment in their teaching practices but positively reinforces desired behaviors.

What does your SEL elementary school classroom look like?

Want to learn more?

Check out our teacher workshops!

The Creating an SEL Classroom Environment and SEL-Aligned Classroom Management Strategies would be a good complementary workshop to this topic!
Write your awesome label here.