Recommended SEL Directives For TEACHERS

The following directives are recommended by CASEL for all teachers, although the efforts of AddyPresFoundation focus on elementary grade levels. It is our educated assumption that less effort is required later if proper building blocks are laid early.

As a teacher,  you hold the hands of your student's parents to offer the tools and guidance these children will need to live successful lives. Lives that allow them to thrive in happiness and balance or struggle with missed opportunity. Thanks to 21st century science & technology and education experts working diligently to provide resources to support your efforts, there are effective tools to assist these opportunities, but they must be utilized to be effective.

You have so much influence over little lives and the parents who love them, in such a pinnacle window of developmental time. It is a huge responsibility, deserving of great gratitude from parents and community members alike. Pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade (and beyond) is crucial in developing self regulation skills and executive functions, without these skills so much opportunity is lost. Without curriculum that builds these skills in such a fast paced world, opportunities will continue to rob children of their ability to thrive.

Empathy matters. Compassion matters. Effectively communicating with others matters. Feeling loved and connected with purpose matters. The tools exist.

The Collaborative for Academic Social Emotional Learning asks us to imagine a classroom where teachers are supportive, students are inspired, and children care about one another and are working together to solve challenging problems. That’s social and emotional learning (SEL) in action, and it’s happening in classrooms across the country.

We now know that children can learn respect, empathy, responsible behavior, and other social and emotional competencies that help them succeed in school and in LIFE. Research shows that social and emotional skills, attitudes, and behaviors can be taught and fostered throughout the day. This success is achieved through SEL learning programs.

Points of Interest for TEACHERS


What skills do socially and emotionally competent children and youth have?

Socially and emotionally competent children and youth are skilled in five core areas:
• They are self-aware. They are able to recognize their emotions, describe their interests and values, and accurately assess their strengths. They have a well-grounded sense of self-confidence and hope for the future.
• They are able to regulate their emotions. They are able to manage stress, control impulses, and persevere in overcoming obstacles. They can set and monitor progress toward the achievement of personal and academic goals and express their emotions appropriately in a wide range of situations.
• They are socially aware. They are able to take the perspective of and empathize with others and recognize and appreciate individual and group similarities and differences. They are able to seek out and appropriately use family, school, and community resources.
• They have good relationship skills. They can establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation. They resist inappropriate social pressure; constructively prevent, manage, and resolve interpersonal conflict; and seek and provide help when needed.
• They demonstrate responsible decision-making at school, at home, and in the community. In making decisions, they consider ethical standards, safety concerns, appropriate social norms, respect for others, and the likely consequences of various courses of action. They apply these decision-making skills in academic and social situations and are motivated to contribute to the well-being of their schools and communities.

Why is SEL essential to the school and life success of all children and youth?

Our emotions and relationships affect how and what we learn and how we use what we learn in work, family, and community contexts. On the one hand, emotions can enable us to generate an active interest in learning and sustain our engagement in it. On the other hand, unmanaged stress and poor regulation of impulses interfere with attention and memory and contribute to behaviors disruptive to learning.
Moreover, learning is an intrinsically social and interactive process. It takes place in collaboration with one’s teachers, in the company of one’s peers, and with the support of one’s family. Relationships are the engine of learning.

What empirical evidence supports the effectiveness of SEL Programming?

Several hundred studies using experimental designs with control groups have documented the positive effects of SEL programming on children of diverse backgrounds from preschool through high school in urban, suburban, and rural settings.
The research clearly demonstrates that SEL programming significantly improves children’s academic performance on standardized tests. Moreover, compared to control groups, children who have participated in SEL programs have significantly better school attendance records, less disruptive classroom behavior, like school more, and perform better in school. The research also indicates that children who have participated in SEL programs are less likely than children in control groups to be suspended or otherwise disciplined.

What can TEACHERS do to promote SEL?

In addition to providing instruction in social and emotional skills, teachers’ involvement in promoting SEL goes beyond the classroom and includes:
• Participating on a school team or committee that selects SEL programs and oversees the implementation and evaluation of SEL activities; and
• Communicating regularly with students’ families about SEL classroom activities to encourage reinforcement of SEL lessons at home.

What can PARENTS do to support SEL?

Parents can promote their child’s SEL by learning more about their school’s SEL initiative and modeling behaviors and adopting practices that reinforce their child’s SEL skills at home. Examples include:

  • Participating in family informational meetings at their school to learn more about its SEL initiative; and
  • Emphasizing their child’s strengths before discussing deficits and needed improvements.
Why is it important to use an evaluated, evidence-based SEL curriculum?

Many available SEL programs have core elements based on an underlying theory of how desired student changes are achieved. Schools interested in implementing an SEL program are urged to start by familiarizing themselves with evidence-based programs featured in the CASEL Program Guides. This will give them a better understanding of how these programs work and enable them to adapt such a program to meet the needs of their students and get buy-in from their teachers without compromising the integrity of its core elements.

To learn more about effective SEL programs running successfully in classrooms, read more on the CASEL SEL IN ACTION FOR CLASSROOMS.


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