The Social-Emotional Dimensions of Teaching

  • Educating the whole child and supporting their cognitive, social, emotional and physical development requires paying attention to the social-emotional dimensions of teaching and learning.  Classroom environments that intertwine academic and social-emotional development look and sound like:

    Teachers are actively creating and nurturing a classroom community where students feel cared about by the teacher, as well as by peers. Students are often working together cooperatively toward a collective goal that is tied to academic and/or social-emotional learning objectives. Instruction is active and interactive, including time for structured academic and social conversations. Teacher language is positive, encouraging and positively reinforcing. Discipline is proactive, instructive and restorative, and students have opportunities to make responsible decisions and choices about their learning.  Teachers believe that all students can achieve and provide meaningful and challenging work with opportunities for students to self-reflect and self-assess their learning and progress. 

Concrete Examples of Instructional Practice That Support SEL

    • Using the power of teacher language to positively reinforce and name social-emotional skills students are developing and demonstrating each day. 
    • Modeling, coaching and incorporating role play to practice social-emotional skills, such as recognizing how someone might be feeling.
    • Teaching and then prompting use of problem solving or conflict resolution processes.
    • Holding class meetings to strengthen belonging, relationships, empathy, cooperation and decision-making skills.
    • Using interactive learning structures to ensure learning is active and interactive.
    • Incorporating frequent structured academic and social conversations where students build both academic skills and social-emotional skills such as focused listening, clarifying and elaborating, building on each other’s ideas, empathy, cooperation, and appreciating differences
    • Integrating project-based learning and service learning instructional strategies into the curriculum