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Social Emotional Learning: 5 Valuable Strategies for Promoting It Effectively

When you’re a teacher, you get to wear several hats. Of course you’re a teacher, but you’re also a counselor, a nurse, a caretaker, and more! When students are in school, they are doing more than just learning the core subjects, they are also doing a large amount of social-emotional learning. Social emotional learning involves teaching students to understand and manage their emotions, establish positive relationships with others, and make responsible and good decisions. All of these social emotional learning skills are vital for success in school and life! The good news is, these skills can be developed through a variety of strategies! Here are five effective strategies for promoting social emotional learning in elementary classrooms! 

Social Emotional Learning 

Social emotional learning is so important in schools. These five strategies are great ways to incorporate this type of learning in your classroom: 

  1. Incorporate SEL into your Curriculum 
  2. Use Role-Playing and Simulations 
  3. Encourage Student-Led Discussions 
  4. Utilize Mindfulness Techniques 
  5. Encourage Positive Relationships 
social-emotional-learning

Incorporating Social Emotional Learning Into Your Curriculum 

You might be thinking, how do I have time to do social emotional learning when I have so many other things to teach!? This is a legitimate concern. However, I have a solution! You can incorporate social emotional learning into language arts, math, and science. 

For example, you can use literature to talk about emotions and teach students how to express themselves in a healthy way. Even if the book doesn’t demonstrate doable skills, you can discuss them when you’re doing guided reading. This can be done in small group literacy centers as well to really reach students on a personal level. You can also talk about model behavior with close-reading passages about heroes and role models. Find the resource below!  

social-emotional-learning
Check Out This Great Resource!

If you want to teach social emotional learning in math and science, you can focus on problem-solving and decision-making skills. This can work with math problems that are more than one step or a math game. If you’re playing a math game like Squares Your Brain, there is some strategy that helps students be successful. Encourage this type of thinking while doing math and science. 

social-emotional-learning
Check Out this Fun Math Game!

Using Role-Playing and Simulations 

Role-playing and simulations are a fun and engaging way for students to practice social-emotional skills. Students can role-play scenarios such as resolving conflicts or making responsible decisions. After students have acted out the scenario, you can have guided conversation using think, pair, share or just small group discussion as well. During discussion, students can talk about how they felt about the experience. If you’re looking for role-play scenarios, there are several available online. You can also use close readings 

Encouraging Student Led Discussions to Support Social Emotional Learning 

Students are told to listen all day long. However, someone once told me the person who is doing the talking, is doing the learning. Allowing students to lead discussions about how they feel and experiences they have had can be a powerful way to promote social emotional learning in elementary. Naturally, teachers need to facilitate the discussion. This can be done by asking open-ended questions and providing a safe and supportive environment for students to share their feelings. A safe environment would also mean no fear of repercussions. Students should know when they leave the classroom, no one would make fun of them for what they said. 

Utilizing Mindfulness Techniques 

Mindfulness is a powerful quality to have, but it doesn’t come easy. Teaching students to take a deep-breath when they are feeling angry or overwhelmed is a great place to start. By teaching deep-breathing techniques or doing them as a class, you’re helping students manage their emotions and reduce stress. These techniques can be incorporated into the classroom through activities such as guided meditations or yoga breaks when you can tell students are getting a bit restless or frustrated. Scholastic has videos, lessons, and activities for Yoga in the Classroom that you can use for free! 

social-emotional-learning
Scholastic has Yoga!

Encourage Positive Relationships 

In our world today, students are constantly seeing people be angry with each other for a variety of reasons. This makes it harder for students to know how to have a positive relationship. You can promote social emotional learning by building positive relationships among students. Teachers can facilitate this by encouraging collaboration on group projects and giving time and space for activities that allow students to work together. You can also encourage positive relationships by modeling positive behaviors and interactions with students in the classroom as well as with your co-workers. 

Incorporating social emotional learning into your classroom shouldn’t seem like a chore. By incorporating these skills into your curriculum, you’re going to see growth in more ways than academics. As a matter of fact, your students might find more success academically because they will be less stressed and feel overall better. By using these strategies, teachers can help students develop essential social-emotional skills that will serve them throughout their lives. 

Until Next Time…

Keep Being Educational Rock Stars

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