Social Emotional Learning has – in recent years – become a priority in many districts. Youth suicide rates have shown a steady rise in recent years and the number of violent occurrences in schools is also on the incline. With mental health diagnoses growing at an alarming rate, many experts believe that this is the next national crisis.

Many see social emotional learning (SEL) as a preventative measure to address these growing concerns in the school system. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that only 8 states currently have standards that address SEL in grades PK-12th; these states include Nevada, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, West Virginia, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Maine. Thirty-six states – California included – have SEL standards for pre-school age students only.

In a recent article by Megan Collins for EdSurge, Collins recommends four easy steps to begin the process of addressing SEL within your own teaching practice. These steps include:

1) Reviewing the CASEL Framework: Use the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning as a starting point.

2) Taking an Inventory: Self-reflection is important – take a moment to reflect on your own interactions with your students and how those interactions fit within the CASEL competencies.

3) Starting Conversations: Explicitly identify these interactions in a meaningful way. The conversations that follow will “allow SEL behaviors to become observable and real to your students,” according to Collins.

4) Broadening the Scope: Having these real discussions will likely cause a shift in thinking for both students and teachers alike. SEL goes well beyond the classroom and it’s critical that everyone within the school system – from counselors to support staff to administrators and parents – be involved in those conversations.

For more information or to read Collins article in depth, click here.

To see what others are saying about SEL, make sure to follow the hashtag #SEL on Twitter for more news, articles, and tips for incorporating SEL instruction into classroom routines.

About Kristin Oropeza
Kristin is a full-time special education teacher, contract consultant, and educational content writer. She is a Google Certified Teacher (Level 1 and 2), Google Certified Trainer, and MIE Expert for 2020-2021.