The Importance of Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroom – Tips for Teachers

Written by Dan

As teachers, we know that educating the whole child is essential. We work hard to teach our students the academic skills they need to succeed in school and life. But we also know those academic skills are only part of the equation. Just as critical are the social and emotional skills that help our students become kind, caring, and thriving community members.

That’s why we always look for ways to incorporate social-emotional learning (SEL) into our classrooms. SEL gives students the tools to navigate difficult emotions, resolve conflict, and build strong relationships. And while it can sometimes be a challenge to implement SEL activities into a busy classroom schedule, the benefits are more than worth it. Here are some tips on how you can integrate SEL into your classroom:

Why Is Social-Emotional Learning Important In The Classroom

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is an essential part of the classroom environment, as it directly contributes to a student’s social and emotional development. SEL helps students build the necessary skills to manage their emotions, positively interact with others, and make responsible decisions.

The benefits for students and teachers alike are numerous, ranging from improved concentration during classes to better relationships among classmates, plus lower stress levels among teachers.

That being said, educators must take the time in class to engage students in activities that target SEL, such as learning how to disagree respectfully, setting up appropriate classroom expectations for behaviour, or focusing on resolving conflicts between peers.

With these essential skills in place, everyone in the classroom benefits from the increased understanding and well-being enabled by modern SEL education practices.

How To Incorporate Social-Emotional Learning

Social-emotional learning has become increasingly important in the classroom, and teachers must learn to incorporate this into their curriculums effectively. To do this, teachers should begin by familiarizing themselves with the fundamentals of social-emotional learning, such as identifying students’ emotions, teaching skills for navigating relationships, and providing a safe environment.

They can then create activities or utilize existing ones to help demonstrate how these social-emotional skills apply to real life and relevant situations. In addition, teachers should strive to stay connected with their students by focusing on academic learning and developing meaningful, open communication with each one; this will show them that they are seen and understood.

By taking these steps, teachers can make a significant impact on the lives of their students when it comes to fostering a holistic approach to education.

How Can Social-Emotional Learning Benefits Students’ Academic Performance

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is an important concept that can help students excel in their studies and life. Through SEL, students learn the essential skills to recognize and regulate their emotions, demonstrate empathy towards others, develop stronger relationships with classmates and teachers, set achievable goals and make responsible decisions.

When these skills are developed, students are more likely to be better academically; they tend to show more enthusiasm in their studies and be able to focus on tasks for longer. SEL also leads them to increase engagement in school activities and become more resilient when faced with challenges or stressful situations.

On top of that, SEL helps students reflect on their actions and determine how their choices could impact themselves and those around them. This gives holistic student development – providing them with a well-rounded education that goes beyond the classroom basics.

Resources That Teachers Can Use

To further explore the topic of social-emotional learning, teachers can find a myriad of resources available. Education professionals widely recognize that students must be equipped with the knowledge and academic skills and understand how to regulate their emotions and interact effectively with others.

There are digital modules tailored for teachers, such as Edutopia’s Professional Learning Series, which offer plenty of instructional strategies and practical tips on fostering vital emotional intelligence in your classroom environment.

Of course, having access to display material such as books, posters, or flipcharts is always beneficial — fun activities like Lego Mindstorms can help showcase the importance of teamwork while also stimulating deep thinking!

With so many links, it’s easy to discover webinars and other training sessions regarding SEL, too -no teacher should feel overwhelmed trying to promote social-emotional learning in the classroom.

Here are some remote teaching methods for social-emotional learning (SEL):

  1. Virtual check-ins: Use video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams to check in with students and provide a space for them to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences.
  2. Online journaling: Provide opportunities for students to reflect on their emotions and behaviour through online journaling prompts or digital reflection tools.
  3. Digital storytelling: Encourage students to create digital stories highlighting themes related to empathy, self-awareness or other SEL competencies.
  4. Mindfulness exercises: Share mindfulness exercises such as guided meditations, breathing exercises or yoga videos that can be practised at home.
  5. Collaborative projects: Assign group projects that require collaboration and communication skills using digital tools like Google Docs or Padlet.
  6. Role-playing scenarios: Use virtual breakout rooms to facilitate role-playing systems that allow students to practice conflict resolution or communication skills.
  7. Discussion guides: Provide discussion guides or prompts encouraging reflection on emotions or behaviour during class discussions or assignments.
  8. Positive feedback: Give feedback for effort and progress in SEL skills through virtual comments or emails to students and parents.
  9. Social-emotional learning apps: Recommend mobile apps designed specifically for SEL, such as Mood Meter, Stop, Breathe & Think Kids, and Classcraft.
  10. Online communities: Join online communities of educators focused on integrating SEL into remote teaching methods where you can share ideas and best practices with peers.

Social-emotional learning is a crucial component of the modern classroom that teachers should strive to incorporate into their curriculums. By having appropriate resources and activities in place, everyone in the school benefits from increased understanding and well-being enabled by SEL education practices.

With solid commitment from educators, students can be equipped with the essential skills needed for successful learning, growth, and overall development. Through social-emotional learning, teachers can create a strong foundation for their students to build upon as they continue their academic journey.


Here are some frequently asked questions about social-emotional learning in the classroom:

Q: What is social-emotional learning (SEL)?

A: Social-emotional learning (SEL) refers to developing and practising skills that support student’s emotional well-being, social competence, and academic success. These skills include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

Q: Why is SEL important in the classroom?

A: SEL is vital in the classroom because it helps students develop the essential life skills they need to succeed academically and personally. It also promotes a positive school climate by fostering empathy, respect for diversity, and a sense of belonging among students.

Q: What are some examples of SEL activities or practices?

A: Some examples of SEL activities or practices include mindfulness exercises, journaling prompts that encourage reflection on emotions and behaviour, role-playing scenarios to practice conflict resolution or communication skills, and team-building activities that promote collaboration and trust among peers.

Q: How can teachers integrate SEL into their daily lessons?

A: Teachers can integrate SEL into their daily lessons by allowing students to practice these skills throughout the day. This could involve using discussion guides or prompts that encourage reflection on emotions or behaviour during class discussions or assignments.

Teachers could also use literature or media highlighting themes related to empathy, self-awareness or other SEL competencies as part of their curriculum.

Q: Can SEL be taught remotely?

A: Yes! While it may require some adjustments to traditional teaching methods, many ways to teach SEL remotely exist. Video conferencing platforms can be used for interactive discussions or group work, while digital tools such as online journals or video reflections can provide students with opportunities for self-reflection.

Q: What resources are available for teachers who want to incorporate more SEL into their teaching?

A: Many resources are available for teachers who want to incorporate more SEL into their teaching, including professional development courses focused on integrating SEL into curriculum planning; online communities where educators can share ideas and best practices; books and articles that guide effective implementation strategies.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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