How are you integrating social-emotional learning (SEL) into your schools and classrooms?

Voices from the Field is a place for administrators, teachers, school support staff, community, and family members to (1) share what you think by responding to a polling question, (2) see what others think by viewing the poll’s results, (3) learn what experts think by reading a short post that includes references and related resources, and (4) share your own experiences by posting comments on safe supportive learning topics.

How are you integrating social-emotional learning (SEL) into your schools and classrooms?

Learn What Experts Think

Growing Consensus

Teachers and researchers agree: SEL is integral to student success. In a recent article, sixth-grade teacher Brett Bohstedt discussed the importance of teaching students ways to handle their stress, regulate their emotions, and increase their attention—skills needed for students to navigate school successfully. In addition, numerous studies have demonstrated that teachers who focus on students’ SEL skills help them to improve their academic achievement and prosocial behaviors and lead them to display fewer behavioral problems.

How can teachers promote SEL skills?

There are numerous ways in which teachers can promote SEL, including:

  1. Implementing a SEL program
  2. Developing a safe and supportive classroom environment
  3. Using instructional strategies that promote the development of academic, social, and emotional learning.

What does SEL promotion look like?

Here are some examples of how teachers can successfully promote SEL when providing students opportunities to apply their own SEL skills:

  • In order for students to develop self-awareness (which includes the identification of their strengths and limitations), they must be given opportunities to reflect on how well they accomplished a learning target and on the strategies they used to accomplish that target.
  • To effectively accomplish the collaborative work required by the Common Core State Standards, students must learn to effectively communicate with their classmates about academic tasks. For example, communicating with a classmate about a mathematical concept looks different than communicating with a classmate about literature. Students need opportunities to learn how to be successful in those academic conversations.

These are only a few of the ways in which teachers can make small shifts in their current instructional practices to integrate SEL in the classroom. It is critical for teachers, administrators, and district personnel to continue to build connections between SEL and academic standards and to identify instructional strategies that integrate the development of students’ social, emotional, and academic skills.

Related Resources

We encourage you to explore our website for further information. Here are a few of our listed resources that address enhancing positive relationships:


Bohstedt, B. (2013). Mindful moments: Teaching students self-awareness. Education Week. Retrieved from

Bridgeland, J., Bruce, M., & Hariharan, A. (2013). The missing piece: A national teacher survey on how social and emotional learning can empower children and transform schools. Chicago, IL: Collaborative on Social Emotional Learning. 

CASEL. (2013). 2013 CASEL guide: Effective social and emotional learning programs. Chicago, IL: Author. Retrieved from

Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82, 405–432. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01564.x

Dymnicki, A., Sambolt, M., & Kidron, Y. (2013). Improving college and career readiness by incorporating social and emotional learning. Washington, DC: College and Career Readiness and Success Center. Retrieved from

Jones, S. M., & Bouffard, S. M. (2012). Social and emotional learning in schools: From programs to strategies (Social Policy Report V26 #4). Sharing Child and Youth Development Knowledge, 26(4), 3–22. Retrieved from

Osher, D., Sprague, J., Weissberg, R. P., Axelrod, J., Keenan, S., Kendziora, K., & Zins, J. E. (2008). A comprehensive approach to promoting social, emotional, and academic growth in contemporary schools. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.) Best practices in school Psychology, Vol. 4 (pp. 1263–1278). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Yoder, N. (2013). Teaching the whole child: Instructional practices that support social-emotional learning in three teacher evaluation frameworks. Washington, DC: Center on Great Teachers and Leaders. Retrieved from

Share Your Experiences

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Victor Mitchell
Chief of Police

I think it's critical for teachers and administrators to be trained on how to recognize the many issues and problems students come to school with. Teachers and administrators must have the capacity to engage students with issues by building positive relationships. I‘ve worked for over 26 years as a police officer in a school setting. I have witnessed the misuse of police services as a discipline tool. It's important for our teachers and administrators to have intervention plans in place as oppose to discipline. We should be committed to creating a safe school culture for our students everyday.