Learning is not just limited to students’ cognitive skills and knowledge. Students must also be able to handle their emotions in a learning environment, especially since they have to interact with other students. For this reason, implementing social-emotional learning (SEL) is crucial for teachers.
Social-emotional learning includes developing and enhancing skills young students need to succeed as adults. Good teachers do this all the time without even thinking about it – and we can all learn from them!
Students who develop the skills can lead more successful lives. They can deal with stress, anxiety, and conflict in healthy ways. When imparted well, it builds a fun and engaging environment in the classroom for students. So, if you’re an educator looking for tips to impart SEL, listed below are a few tips that may come in handy.
1. Do role-playing activities
Role-playing is an effective way for teachers to incorporate social-emotional learning into their lesson plans. It helps students learn coping strategies and problem-solving skills they can use throughout their lives. It also allows teachers to model positive behavior or correct problematic behaviors without directly calling out a student in front of the class.
Teachers can address complex topics, such as bullying or violence, without making some students feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.
Educators helping students with an MSE school counseling degree often implement this technique. Because of role-playing activities, students can practice being assertive and asking for help. They can explore what it means to be empathetic by pretending to be other people in different scenarios.
Role-playing can help teachers reframe potentially sensitive topics and turn them into teachable moments that encourage students to talk about such issues in a healthy way.
2. Praise students and boost their self-esteem
All children thrive on attention and praise from their parents and teachers. With some encouragement, children will always want to keep doing what is right. Pushing a student can harm their self-esteem.
So ensure you praise your students for good behavior rather than punish them for bad behavior. It is important to remember that every child learns differently, so positive reinforcement works best in most cases.
If you notice a student doing something positive, praise them. This will boost their self-esteem and make them feel proud. Praise them verbally and show your appreciation by rewarding them. Students who feel good about themselves are more likely to succeed than those who do not.
When students have high self-esteem, they are more willing to take risks and challenge themselves in school.
3. Be present and personal
Being present and personal means sharing more than just information with students. It means sharing experiences, feelings, opinions, and values with them. Start by connecting with your students on a personal level. It will make them fearless and be confident in the future.
Ask students about their lives outside of school. Make them feel comfortable enough to share what they are interested in and how they spend their free time. Show interest in their answers so they know you care about them as individuals.
Being present and personal in class also means being involved in the classroom community. Be an active participant in discussions, asking questions to clarify points or bring up other perspectives. Encourage students to work on a common ground that helps build connections between them.
Smile, make eye contact, and greet each student by name whenever possible. These simple actions can go a long way toward establishing rapport with diverse students.
4. Foster a sense of respect within the classroom
Cultivating a kind and respectful environment is one of the most potent ways to help kids engage with the learning process and enjoy their time in the classroom. This means being firm when it comes to rules and expectations and showing your students that you care about them as people.
Respectful behavior does not come from rules; it comes from understanding and empathy. You can make them feel heard by addressing their concerns and being open to compromise. You can show them kindness by listening when they speak and making eye contact with them when they are talking.
5. Give feedback in a positive tone
Telling students how to improve their work or behavior is essential for the teaching process. Still, it is necessary to deliver your feedback effectively to help them learn from the experience. When students feel criticized, their instinct is often to defend themselves. They do not hear what was said— they merely react defensively.
Instead of criticizing your students’ work directly, focus on what they did well and use that as a jumping-off point for further growth-related discussion. Feedback should be given as soon as possible, but not immediately following the particular instance. Students may not be able to process the information at that point.
They may view the feedback as a punishment rather than advice for improvement. Wait for a break or until another class before addressing the issue with your student.
Moreover, give specific suggestions for improvement that are clear and easy to follow. For example, say something like, “If you are going to be late to class, you need to let me know ahead of time.” Be specific about what your student did right and what they need to do differently next time.
HP Thoughts: Stress, worry, lack of sleep, and other conscious (or subconscious) actions and behaviors lead our health and well-being astray; hence, we have to always observe our daily actions and check if we still doing good or bad. We have a post giving hints if you are already going over the edge — Are You Sick or Anxiety.
Social-emotional learning and character education is an essential part of a school. To keep up with the lessons children need to be taught in class, teachers need to incorporate SEL into the curriculum in creative ways. In this way, students can improve their mental health, their self-discipline and have better relationships with themselves and others.