Social-Emotional Learning for All: It Begins with Us

Social-Emotional Learning Starts with Us: SEL for Administrators and School Leaders edLeader Panel recording screenshot

Watch the Recording Listen to the Podcast

Research has shown that social-emotional learning (SEL) increases academic achievement, improves behavior, and contributes to the overall sense of well-being for students and teachers. However, we can’t teach what we don’t know, and so for that reason, SEL starts with adults.

During the edLeader Panel “Social-Emotional Learning Starts with Us: SEL for Administrators and School Leaders,” presenters shared how administrators and school leaders can support, empower, and inspire staff and students by reflecting and building upon their SEL best practices, becoming equipped with engaging strategies to connect with staff and students and deepen their understanding of how SEL can strengthen and improve academics and overall well-being.

SEL is critical to educators, staff, and administrators because it can help them to build positive relationships with students and colleagues, manage stress and emotions effectively, resolve conflict peacefully, make responsible decisions, be resilient in the face of challenges, and contribute to a positive school climate. SEL strategies for adults in a school system include self-awareness, forgiveness, support and validation, and positive thinking.


Self-awareness is an essential skill that can help people live happier and more fulfilling lives. It can also help people to be more successful in their personal and professional relationships. Self-awareness is crucial for developing strong relationships with students and colleagues in the educational setting.

When people are self-aware, they are more likely to be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses. This self-awareness can help them set realistic goals, develop strategies for achieving them, and help people understand their motivations and make better choices about their behavior.

In addition, it can help people to be more understanding and compassionate towards others. When people are aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, they are more likely to be able to understand the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of others.


Forgiveness is a powerful tool that can help us to heal from past hurts, build stronger relationships, and move forward in our lives. It is significant for administrators and educators, who are often in positions of authority and must build trust with their students and colleagues.

When we forgive, we are not condoning the other person’s behavior but letting go of the anger and resentment we are holding onto. Forgiveness can be a difficult process, but it is ultimately liberating. Forgiveness allows us to move on from the past and focus on the present and future.

Being open and honest with our students and colleagues about forgiveness is essential. We can model forgiveness by forgiving others when they make mistakes, and we can talk to our students and colleagues about the importance of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a powerful tool that can help us to create a more positive and productive learning environment.

Support and Validation

Teacher burnout is a serious issue that can negatively affect teachers and students. It is essential to find ways to help teachers stay motivated and engaged in their work. Teachers can feel successful when validated for their hard work and accomplishments and shown in various ways, such as acknowledging teachers’ efforts, being specific in praise, and focusing on their strengths.

Teachers can also feel supported and validated when their colleagues listen to their needs and provide them with the resources and support they need to succeed. By providing teachers with opportunities for success, creating a positive work environment, and listening to their needs, we can help them stay motivated and engaged in their work.

Positive Thinking

Fear of failure is common and can be challenging for everyone. However, it is vital to remember that failure is a part of life, and it is how we learn and grow. Using SEL strategies, administrators and teachers can also help others to overcome their fear of failure by encouraging them to focus on the positive and to see challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. By supporting each other and working together, the school community can overcome any challenge that comes their way.


Despite the evidence showing SEL’s benefits, some people still doubt its effectiveness. They argue that SEL takes away from academic time, is too expensive, and needs more research. To counter these arguments, it is essential to be prepared to discuss the benefits of SEL, research on SEL, and examples of successful SEL programs in schools.

It is also essential to respect the naysayers’ concerns and try to understand their perspectives. If you can address their concerns, you can change their minds about SEL. Finally, remember that change takes time. You may not be able to convince all naysayers overnight, but if you continue to advocate for SEL, you can make a difference in students’ lives.

SEL is not just a brief activity between teachers and students in the morning. It can happen in various ways throughout the day and impact a student’s life by helping them develop, promote, and inspire the SEL skills they will need in the future.

SEL is more than just another thing to add to our plate. It is the plate itself. There is no limit to the benefits of building a strong SEL foundation with us, our staff, and our students. It is essential to a well-rounded education and can positively impact students’ academic achievement, social-emotional well-being, and behavior.

Learn more about this edWeb broadcast, Social-Emotional Learning Starts with Us: SEL for Administrators and School Leaders, sponsored by Teacher Created Materials.

Watch the Recording Listen to the Podcast

Join the Community

Build Educator Capacity and Boost Student Achievement is a free professional learning community that offers educators interactive, live webinars covering the latest education trends with experts and distinguished authors that help teachers develop their pedagogical knowledge and expand their toolbox of instructional strategies.

Teacher Created Materials Created by Teachers for Teachers & Students Shell Education Free Spirit PublishingTeacher Created Materials develops innovative and imaginative educational materials and services for students worldwide. Everything we do is created by teachers for teachers and students to make teaching more effective and learning more fun. Join us on our mission to create a world where children truly want to learn.

Shell Education Social-Emotional Learning Starts with US


Blog post by Eileen Belastock, based on this edLeader Panel.