Social emotional learning, or SEL, can be a significant part of a student’s overall education. It is important to remember that students develop socially and emotionally at the same time they are developing academically. In short, integrating SEL into the classroom can help prepare students for the future. That is why it is very important for educators to be intentional when implementing social emotional learning among students, especially during school closures.
There are five key skills are essential for SEL: are Self-awareness, Self-management, Social awareness, Relationship skills, and Responsible decision-making. I was inspired by Jennifer Casa-Todd and Mandy Froehlich, and I tried to implement SEL initiatives in my classroom with the help of few teachers through different tasks. We started a pilot program, and gained some field experience before running it in school-wide program. After having few discussions, we decided to run the SEL program with Buncee and Wakelet. We had a short brief with students, and students were given assistance to go through the tasks. At the beginning, we did face some challenges, as the students were struggling to accomplish the tasks. However, to our surprise, our hard work paid off at last!
Self-awareness: My Super Power!!
To help students recognize their own emotions, personal goals, and values, students were required to create a personal reflection, then identify and create their own self-awareness Buncee. Each of them had to create a Buncee sharing their own “super-power”. With this, they became more aware of themselves.
Self-Management: My Goals My Way
My Goals My Way is one of the tasks that was planned to help students effectively manage stress, and regulate their emotions and behaviors. Students were required to set their realistic goals according to the SMART guidelines, and listed out their execution plan. The goals can be very simple, like read 10 pages per day, or write a paragraph, and must be achieved within a fixed time frame. With a proper execution plan, students definitely will be motivated to accomplish their missions.
Social-Awareness: Share Your Feelings with Emojis
This task allows students to understand more about different backgrounds or cultures, while using appropriate strategies to deal with unexpected situations. Promoting social awareness helps my students to manage their emotions, feel good about themselves, and achieve their goals. Teachers help students to think about diversity during story time with storybooks such as: It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Pair; Families, Families, Families! By Suzanne Lang; and, The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler and David Lee.
Then, students were given a situation, and they needed to express how they would feel in that situation accurately with an emoji.
Relationship Skills and Responsible Decision-Making: “What Would You Do?”
Students need relationship skills to establish and maintain healthy relationships, to experience greater well-being, and to engage in less risky behavior. Students were given a list of situations in which they would have to make an important decision to solve their conflict. Students practiced how to make tough decisions, and learned how their actions affect others.
Why Are SEL Skills Important?
When students learn SEL in the classroom physically or virtually, they show greater engagement and enjoyment in learning. Besides, it is important to help students solve their own conflicts positively and with less emotional distress. After running through these SEL initiatives, the teacher-student relationships have also improved!
Meet the Author
Goh Kok Ming is a primary educator, currently serving at one of the Under-Enrolled Schools in Perak. He is passionate about teaching and learning, and is especially excited about integrating technologies to help students learn.