What is social emotional learning (SEL)?
As parents and teachers, we all want our students to be happy. However, nobody can guarantee happiness. What we can do is provide tools to develop resilience and emotional security. Therefore, no matter what situation they may face, they can find a way to be happy or regain their happiness.
Social emotional learning includes interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. Students must learn healthy ways to interact with and perceive others, as well as themselves. Satir's iceberg model states that a person's external behavior can be explained by their internal thoughts, feelings, perceptions, expectations, values, yearnings, and self (self-concept and self-esteem). When students are aware of this, they develop empathy and self-awareness.
Managing emotions plays a major role in ensuring that they feel safe at school. Students thrive in a positive learning environment where they recognize their self-worth. It is important that students feel like a part of a community when they are at school. We strive to create a classroom culture where we celebrate successes together, help one another, and build each other up.
How will we implement social emotional learning in our classroom?
Morning meeting → In the morning, we gather in a circle to engage in activities that build community, listen to stories focused on SEL and diversity, and have discussions to share our thoughts and hear what others think.
Naturally occurring → Instead of providing only hypothetical scenarios, we take advantage of real situations to teach SEL skills (i.e. how to calm down when we are angry, how to apologize, how to express our feelings, etc.), which provides students with an immediate and relevant opportunity to practice those skills. When students approach us with problems, we model how to listen respectfully. When conflicts arise, we make sure to give everyone a chance to honestly share what happened and discuss a way to resolve it together.
Calm corner → In our classroom, we provide a safe space for students to use to calm down, reflect on their emotions and behavior, and express and resolve their feelings in a healthy way.
Project-based learning → Through our learning arcs, there are several opportunities for us to meaningfully integrate discussions on SEL that are tied to our project topic.