As a secondary school leader, you know how challenging it can be to bring change into the classroom. You may also be wondering if it’s worth the time to incorporate social and emotional learning (SEL) activities. We have good news: 

  1. There are proven benefits of learning SEL skills far beyond the school community and student success. Studies have shown that the benefits are long-term and global, showing increased well-being in individuals up to 18 years later.  
  1. SEL lesson plans can be implemented during the school day in as little as 5–10 minutes, some with little-to-no prep. 

What is Social and Emotional Learning? 

Social and emotional learning is a teaching and learning process to develop and acquire the skills, knowledge, and beliefs all individuals need to be successful in school, work, and life. 

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as “an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.” 

What is Educator SEL? 

Educators may engage in an intentional process to continually nurture SEL competencies and capacities. Specifically, Educator SEL includes two core components: 

  • Competencies—processes educators take to nurture their social and emotional competencies (e.g., understanding and managing emotions, forming meaningful relationships, making helpful choices). 
  • Capacities—the ability to translate knowledge of SEL to support student social and emotional development. 

How does Inspire SEL work? 

The Inspire program is built on two Inspirational Pathways

  • Building Teaching Practices (modules that explore engagement strategies for high-quality classroom instruction). 
  • Developing SEL Capacity (modules on how to build healthy relationships in supportive learning environments). 

The modules within each program are structured to help you succeed. They: 

  • Emphasize a unique aspect of teaching strategies and classroom management and include role-specific Implementation Resources
  • Are organized by topic. For example, the Professional Practices Unit includes the “Supporting Students with ADHD” module. 
  • On-demand modules typically take 30-60 minutes to complete. 
  • Include a research-based micro course, followed by an assessment. 
  • Can lead to a certificate of completion which may be used for professional development hours or in some states, continuing education units. 

The following features throughout Inspire help ease the process: 

  • Multiple Module Resources enhance and expand the learning experience in different professional settings. 
  • The CARE (“Care, Apply, Refine, and Elevate”) model helps you incorporate modules depending on your learning environment: 
  • After determining the topics/modules that best meet the group’s needs, everyone COMPLETES their assigned on-demand module(s), which could differ based on needs. 
  • APPLY strategy from on-demand module(s) in the classroom. 
  • REFINE application through peer observations and feedback from leaders. 
  • ELEVATE teaching practice to inspire students. ELEVATE impact by sharing best practices with colleagues and becoming a teacher leader. 

What online SEL activities do high school teachers love? 

  • Greeting students. One basic (and often overlooked) SEL activity is simply greeting students as they start their day! Encourage teachers to engage students in light conversation on a topic of their interest. The Harmony SEL Quick Connection Cards are a fantastic way to incorporate this into the start of the day.  
  • Role play. Social and emotional learning skills can be taught using situations drawn from students’ lives. Role play gives students the opportunity to explore a situation from someone else’s perspective and broaden their own view. 
  • Reflective questions. Reflective questions can be used both personally and within the classroom to help reflect on important topics from Inspire. In the Inspire module, “Working Against Racial Bias,” teachers are encouraged to develop a strong sociocultural consciousness. This understanding is gained by learning to ask reflective questions. 
  • Choosing a quote for the day. Give each student an opportunity to choose a quote for the day or week in the classroom. 
  • Incorporating associated actions. Associated actions are used alongside strategies to bring SEL to life within the classroom. In Inspire modules, Using Critical Consciousness to Challenge Inequityand “Linking Identity Through Cultural Competence,” important topics are broken down into strategies perfect for the classroom. 
  • Connect using literature. Find stories of individuals from all different backgrounds in life, giving students the opportunity to connect with their struggles, challenges, and successes.  

What if I want to take SEL Training for Teachers to the next level? 

As an affiliate of National University, we are pleased to connect you to higher education pathways as a way to continue to support your teachers’ SEL learning. National University offers multiple social and emotional learning degrees and certification programs to help educators excel in professional development. We also encourage educators to attend an upcoming webinar at no cost. 

Sponsored Content Disclaimer:

Sponsored Content in Partnership With NASSP

NASSP allows select groups to share information and thought leadership with our program audiences.

About the Author

Miriam Seely is the content manager for National University.

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