Schools have the opportunity to increase their capacity in social-emotional learning. In their book All Learning Is Social And Emotional: Helping Students Develop Essential Skills for the Classroom And Beyond, authors Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, and Dominique Smith share ideas about how to build SEL schools (pp. 143-155):
- Use data to guide decision-making – Study your buildings and gather data on all the SEL principles. Use the data to examine trends and needs. Use the data to decide which areas to address first in your SEL plan.
- Include key stakeholders in the decision-making process – Students, parents, teachers, staff members, administrators, counselors, bus drivers, custodians, and cafeteria workers all interact with students and shape the environment. Let their voices be heard at the decision-making table.
- Identify the needs and goals – When examining SEL principles in the building, you are undertaking significant systemic change. Student factors, external factors, organizational structure, organizational culture, instruction, and curriculum are all subject to examination and the goal-setting process (pp.152-153).
- Choose a program to address the needs and goals – There are a variety of programs available to provide resource support in the area of SEL. Carefully examine the programs available and select one that addresses your needs.
Think about your classroom and your school. Could your classroom and school benefit from further exploration of SEL principles? If so, step up and lead the change that is needed. You, your students, and your school will benefit greatly from your effort