Teachers, staff, student service providers and administration are each important components in making SEL work effectively in schools that adopt SEL. In harmony, they work as a team to build a school culture that ideally turns out students who are thoughtful and compassionate problem-solvers.
Still, In their everyday teaching of subject matter, teachers have the most impact on students. And embedding SEL in different subject matter is challenging if exciting.
It is significant that so many teachers say they have a thankless job, filled with requirements that they do not have the time to meet. This is a meaningful barrier to SEL adoption which, effectively taught, actually helps to reduce stress because it makes the classroom experience easier and more effective. Teachers who are trained in SEL universally give it high marks for making their work and lives easier, north of 80% satisfaction.
Cleveland, which for two years has had an SEL program from K-5, did a survey of teachers at the end of the school year and 86% of them said that classroom behavior and overall environment improved as a result of the program.
These results are replicated across the country when SEL is prioritized in a comprehensive way in schools. Why so? As Maurice Eilas, director of the Social-Emotional Learning Lab at Rutgers University, puts it: The “most important consideration is to create positive feelings and optimism about school. This has many practical implications for both educators and parents.”
The Benefits of an SEL
- More personal safety in the schools
- More caring relationships between students and teachers
- More harmonious classroom
- More trust between student and teacher
- Better environment for learning
- Less truancy
- Less aggression
- Fewer disruptions in class
- More interest in learning
- More commitment to the school
- Better academic achievement
TEACHERS: How You Can Advocate for SEL in Your Schools
By Angela Benedetto, Ph.D.
To Learn More
SEL and how it can help you in your teaching career:
gtlcenter.org (Center on Great Teachers and Leaders)
Check out the related tags on the Edutopia site for articles on teacher development school climate, teacher leadership, teacher collaboration, and teaching strategies. Edutopia also has videos, teacher resource material and a blog to support teachers.
Books Supporting Teachers
The Way of Mindful Education
The Compassionate Classroom
Full Catastrophe Living
Educating Minds and Hearts
Promoting Social and Emotional Learning; Guidelines for Educators
Emotional Intelligence, Why it Can Matter More than IQ
Re-engaging Disconnected Youth: Transformative Learning Through Restorative and Social Justice Education
Ibooks: The Stress Reduction handbook for Teachers
Research-based teacher training programs supporting SEL
Greater Good Science Center’s Summer Institute for Educators
Garrison Institute’s CARE for Teachers program
Passageworks’ SMART-in-Education program
SEL Masters Program at the University of British Columbia
Margaret Cullen’s Mindfulness-Based Emotional Balance (Smart)
FuelEd teacher training program
Passageworks Engaged Teaching Approach
Omega Institute Mindfulness & Educational Conference