The Importance of SEL in Adults and Children
Being a teen today is harder than ever. We now know that social-emotional learning is integral to education and human development.
“SEL advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences, says Diane M. Hoffman in her peer-reviewed journal article, “Reflecting on Social Emotional Learning: A Critical Perspective on Trends in the United States.” Hoffman explains, “SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities.”
Teaching teenagers SEL can equip them to navigate challenges and lead happy and healthy lives. Here are some tips on how to teach SEL to teenagers:
Create a safe and inclusive classroom environment: In order for SEL to be effective, it’s important that students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings in a safe and supportive environment. As an educator, you can help create this environment by setting clear expectations for respectful communication and behavior, and by modeling these behaviors yourself.
Teach self-awareness: Self-awareness is an important component of SEL, as it helps teenagers understand their own emotions and how they affect their behavior. You can teach self-awareness by asking students to reflect on their own emotions and behaviors, and by providing them with tools such as journaling or mindfulness exercises.
Foster empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Teaching empathy can help teenagers develop stronger relationships with their peers and family members, as well as increase their understanding of diverse perspectives. You can foster empathy by encouraging students to listen actively to others and to put themselves in others’ shoes.
A fun and creative SEL activity! No prep, and sure to shift the mood of a student–or your entire classroom–to a happier, more positive outlook.
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Build responsible decision-making skills: Responsible decision-making is an essential component of SEL, as it helps teenagers learn how to make choices that are in line with their values and goals. You can teach responsible decision-making by providing students with opportunities to practice decision-making skills, such as role-playing or group discussions.
Encourage relationship-building: Relationships are a crucial part of social-emotional learning, as they help teenagers build support networks and feel connected to others. You can encourage relationship-building by providing students with opportunities to work in groups, participate in team-building exercises, and engage in community service projects.
Take courses: A lot can be learned online when you know where to look. Take the first step in being a leader by learning how to become one.
Become a certified SEL teacher through this course with sample agendas, free printables, and an overview of all the emotion sets and activities. Best of all, it includes information to support you and your creativity too!
Remember, teaching social-emotional learning to teens takes time and effort, but the benefits are well worth it–for them and for your community over the long term.
By equipping your students with the tools they need to navigate the complexities of their lives, you can help them build resilience, develop healthy relationships, and lead fulfilling lives.
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Thank you for reading!
I’d love to hear your thoughts about SEL! Please reach out with your stories, advice, and ideas. We’re partners in SEL education.
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