Eight Ways to Implement SEL Now

Making Social and Emotional Learning a Priority

At the core of every person, is a desire to connect, be connected, and to feel like they matter. Building the skills to connect and empathize with others is something that needs to be taught — it is not inherent. Otherwise known as social and emotional learning, the importance of teaching these SEL skills is beginning to pop up everywhere. Whether you’re reading education articles or talking to an educator friend, it’s more than likely the topic of educating the heart is going to come up. While some may consider SEL a trend, its impacts are based on research and its lasting effects are clear.

Empathy fuels connection … — Brene Brown

Now is the time to implement a social and emotional curriculum that works — one that will resonate with both students and teachers. Here are eight steps to setting up an SEL curriculum for success:

1.INFORM.
Ground your team in research. The CASEL website is a great resource to get you and your team started with understanding SEL. Once all stakeholders see the research behind SEL, they’ll begin to understand the value that it has to offer. Classroom Champions also offered this webinar here, on why SEL is so important.

2. COMMUNICATE.
It’s so important to communicate to all stakeholders that your school culture will be one that considers SEL to be of equal importance with academics. While you as educators may know that SEL will be a huge priority for the upcoming year, it’s imperative to make sure that your students and their families are aware too. Classroom Champions offers family activities to make sure that families are continuing the conversation at home around social and emotional learning. You can learn more here.

3. CULTIVATE.
Cultivate a culture in which staff is allowed time to be vulnerable together. Allowing yourselves and giving grace to your colleagues to realize that this is a new curriculum that will require a learning curve, will help you to embrace the shift into SEL and its importance. Start by integrating some time into your existing staff meetings to reflect, connect, and collaborate on the curriculum. Classroom Champions offers live implementation support and a wealth of knowledge behind the scenes to help you cultivate the ideal culture.

4. TRAIN.
Make sure that staff is properly equipped and trained to teach an SEL curriculum. When looking for a curriculum, look for one that makes this professional growth a priority and is flexible in understanding how your staff learns. This focus will increase confidence and ensure that the time dedicated to implementing the curriculum pays off in the end. Classroom Champions offers options for customized training.

5. EMBED.
Start by embedding SEL into your weekly schedule. As staff begin to feel more comfortable, you can increase the amount of time spent on SEL. One great way to make SEL part of your school culture is to use the Classroom Champions topics as your monthly virtues. The whole school can rally behind the same language, which will have a greater impact. Classroom Champions offers 30-minute weekly lesson plans which are easily extendable and integrate seamlessly into existing academic curriculums.

6. LEARN.
There is no better way to foster enthusiasm for something in students than by going on the learning journey with them. Reflect on your own social and emotional wellness and how you can build your skills as well. Classroom Champions offers a nine-session facilitator guide dedicated to building SEL skills in adults.

7. GATHER FEEDBACK.
Collect data to inform your decision-making and to understand how implementation is going. While students may be acing assessments, it’s important to note how staff are becoming accommodated to teaching SEL. This insight will help you to reflect on the curriculum’s long-term viability. With a dedicated research team, Classroom Champions operates off of the model of using feedback to guide program changes. Along with our Education team, Classroom Champions is with you every step of the way for implementation.

8. CHERISH THE LITTLE THINGS.
Teaching is hard. With all the uncertainty surrounding schooling, it can be hard to feel motivated. Relish how the small conversational pieces will change once you start to implement an SEL curriculum. Allow yourself to reflect on the moments in which a student or staff member responded in a way that was indicative of the new learning they’ve done. Here at Classroom Champions, we are so passionate in the work educators are doing, we’re here to help you remember those little moments and we’ll even do a cheer for you on the side!

Regardless of the SEL curriculum you choose, making the decision to put social and emotional learning at the forefront alongside academics will have a lasting impression on not only students, but on staff as well. Together, we can change the future.

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Classroom Champions mission is to connect underserved students with world-class mentors, support teachers, and engage families so our children can achieve a successful future. Learn more at: www.classroomchampions.org

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Kate Pereira

Kate Pereira

Director of School Support at Classroom Champions. Mom of 2 boys. Fur baby mom. Teacher.

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