Ten Tips for Promoting Social and Emotional Learning at Your School

January 19, 2024

By: Dr. Amanda DeSua, NBCT – Waukesha, WI

Social-emotional learning is crucial as it helps students develop self-awareness, empathy, problem-solving, and effective communication skills. These skills improve interpersonal relationships, self-esteem, academic achievement, and well-being. Learn ten tips for promoting social and emotional learning at your school.

  1. Model healthy problem-solving and coping skills for your students and colleagues.
  2. Get a pulse for the day by checking in with your students (and staff). Recognizing strong emotions early in the day and addressing them can build relationships and avoid dysregulation later in the day.
  3. Incorporate literature, activities, announcements, or displays that promote equity, empathy, and compassion for others. Weaving SEL into academics and the environment increases connections for students and builds social awareness.
  4. Offer opportunities for service to the school and community. Students thrive when they have purpose and responsibility.
  5. Include mindfulness in your routine. This is a great way to start the day or ease into learning after a transition.
  6. Create a calming space for students to practice coping skills and self-management. Calming corners, mindful mazes, or safe places throughout the building can help students reflect and refocus.
  7. Take advantage of teachable moments and create situations for restorative justice. Ensure disrespect among students is addressed with empathy and set the stage for forgiveness, positive change, and relationship building.
  8. Highlight and praise prosocial behavior throughout the day. Reinforcing skills and connecting our daily interactions to social-emotional learning is very powerful.
  9. Encourage reflection by having class meetings or facilitating respectful problem-solving among students. Journaling can also be a powerful reflection tool, boosting social and emotional learning and self-awareness.
  10. Remember how connected our emotional and physical health are. Taking care of yourself is crucial so you are prepared to care for others.

When students feel a sense of belonging and connected to their learning environment, they are more likely to grow academically, socially, and emotionally. Investing in social and emotional learning can help our students during the school day and has significant benefits throughout a lifetime.

Dr. Amanda Desua, NBCT

Dr. Amanda DeSua is School Counselor in Waukesha, WI and has been in the profession for over 20 years. She also teaches as an adjunct professor for Concordia and Lakeland’s counseling graduate programs. She has written two children’s books, Frog Slime: A Child’s Guide to Calming Down and Panda’s Pause