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March 8, 2023Four Tips to Teaching SEL Without Taking Away from Other Subjects

We’ll always stress the importance of SEL, but it’s not typically a core subject recognized by school districts. If your school doesn’t provide time to work on it, it can be difficult to squeeze in without missing time that is meant for math, language arts, or sciences. One way to ensure all students have access to social and emotional learning regardless of schedules is to weave it into all curriculums.

Though this can sound like a large undertaking at first, it’s a simple task. By reframing your mindset, or the style of a few daily activities, you can weave SEL into all school subjects. Read on for four easy-to-implement tips to start your all-inclusive SEL teaching style.

Tip #1: Encourage Open Environments
One of the easiest ways to weave SEL into all school subjects is to add it to the dynamics of your classroom. Make your room a safe space where students are allowed to express not only themselves but also share triumphs and struggles. Encourage interaction between students at appropriate times to strengthen relationships and social skills.

As the teacher, try to be open with your emotions, too. When students see that their teachers can struggle with emotions or daily stressors and recover with healthy coping mechanisms, they are more likely to do the same.

Stress the fact that no one needs to be perfect all the time. Emotions are normal, and expressing them is healthy. If a math lesson is difficult, your students can tell you. If they went through something tough over the weekend, a supportive environment is waiting for them at school.

These changes don’t take away from core subjects, but they do help create healthy, socially-educated students with a minimal time commitment.

Tip #2: Seek Out Struggle Areas
Leading Great Learning offers a unique take on weaving SEL into all school subjects that includes watching diligently for challenges that are repeatedly difficult for your students. Are transitions challenging? Are test days a trigger? After finding the struggle area, ask yourself if any SEL skills can fix it.

For example, calming techniques and deep breathing exercises could support kids who struggle on test days. Before test day, you could also add a time management lesson or two to help students to study on an appropriate timeline ahead of time.

Tip #3: Incorporate Group Projects, Discussions, and Peer Reviews
When peers work together, social skills flourish. Group projects require collaboration, turn-taking, decision-making, critical thinking, and more. They can help build confidence when ideas are shared and accepted. They can also build friendships as students get to know each other better.

Class discussions help students with self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, empathy, and more. Peer reviews require students to not only accept constructive criticism, but also challenge another child’s work and thought process gracefully.

These aren’t a complete list of SEL skills that come from students working together, but they do paint a decent picture of the benefits that can come from small instruction adjustments.

Tip #4: Make it Quick
When weaving SEL into all school subjects gets to be too much, a different solution is to simply make it quick. SEL doesn’t have to take a lot of time to be effective. It can make an impact when taught for as little as a few minutes, a few times per week. And there are even programs available today that take the stress of planning away from you.

YouHue, for example, is a social-emotional check-in app that lets students share how they’re feeling each day. These logs are then shared with the teacher and placed into journal format for future review. They can bring up subsequent lessons, such as mindfulness or emotional vocabulary, as needed. Teachers can assign short SEL tasks to students as desired as well.

YouHue works on smartphones, tablets, and computers, making it easily accessible for all students. It can be done before the bell rings or at the end of class when you’re waiting for students to move on to their next subject.

If you want to learn more about YouHue, its benefits, and its incredibly simple application, contact us or sign up for free today. We’d be honored to make a difference in your students’ SEL skills in just a few minutes per day.