9 ways to boost social-emotional learning post-COVID

Don't speed up instruction, give students voice and choice, and add anti-racist pedagogy to the curriculum
By: | July 31, 2020
Teachers focused on SEL can strengthen connections with students through morning meetings and other interactions.Teachers focused on SEL can strengthen connections with students through morning meetings and other interactions.

CASEL and the Committee for Children’s Second Step program are two of the leading nonprofit providers in helping schools integrate social-emotional learning.

Here are some SEL tips for administrators and teachers in the new school year from Mylien Duong, a clinical child psychologist and senior research scientist at Committee for Children (tips 1 through 5), and Karen VanAusdal, senior director of practice at CASEL (tips 6 through 9):

  1. Build connections with students through morning meetings and other interactions.
  2. Don’t speed up instruction right away to tackle learning loss.
  3. Give students voice and choice over some assignments and class activities.
  4. Be honest and up-front with students if they ask about whether schools will have to close again or other sensitive issues.
  5. Allow educators time to cope with their own anxieties and regulate their emotions.
  6. Have principals contact every staff member to discuss online learning methods and the issues educators are contending with at home.
  7. Hold “restorative circles” where staff can talk about the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, the presidential election and other issues.
  8. Ask administrators to help educators add anti-racist pedagogy to the new school year’s curriculum.
  9. Train non-instructional staff to help children cope with stress and anxiety.

Read the other stories in our series on SEL as school reopen during COVID:

  1. COVID-era SEL means preparing students for the unknown
  2. 10 ways Austin ISD reinforces SEL during COVID 
  3. Why kids must feel safe before they can learn
  4. Student voice becomes a key component of SEL
  5. 5 reasons why SEL is essential in the COVID era