Teachers Know SEL Helps, But Where Are the Resources?
  • By admin
  • September 17, 2019

By Grace Shelton



A recent survey reveals surprising insights into how teachers feel about the current push for more whole-child and social-emotional learning practices to be embedded in daily curriculum. According to the Education Week survey, 78% of teachers feel that it is definitely a part of their job to help students develop SEL skills, 92% of teachers feel that teaching SEL will improve school safety, but only 40% of teachers feel they have the skills and strategies to properly teach SEL practices to their students. This is especially problematic considering the rising rate of adverse childhood experiences in the country. So, while teachers do feel SEL is important and part of their job, the majority do not feel equipped to teach in this way. In fact, many teachers indicated on the survey that they have received no mental health training whatsoever and rely on one-on-one conversations with students to attempt to build social-emotional capacity.

Social-emotional learning begins with adults modeling the proper skills and strategies that they want their students to adopt. It is problematic that these results show adults in the school building have little knowledge on how to use these skills and strategies themselves. If students cannot see SEL practices firsthand, how can they be expected to begin using them on their own?

A teacher contributor for EdSource recently released his own opinion piece lamenting the lack of diverse curriculum available to him in his school. He highlights his classroom of diverse learners, and how some curriculum might work for one student but not for others. He states, “too much curricula are intentionally designed for a narrow population.”

It’s clear that teachers are asking for more resources to meet the specific needs of their students. So, what’s the hold up? Why does so much research continue to discuss the merits of whole child and differentiated learning, yet teachers struggle to find what works best in their classrooms? As this particular teacher notes, “Every teacher should be given the space to engage in a reflective process to ensure that they all have — and are able to use — curricula that is relevant to their students.”



Want to know if your teachers feel equipped and supported? Contact Resonant Education to learn how we can help you tune in to your learning community.