A Multi-pronged Approach to SEL

string art of brain and heart

Starting a new school year always prompts me to reflect on previous years. What can I do better? What do I need to implement? What do I want to continue? What’s different this year that needs to be addressed in a distinct way?

One thing that I keep coming back to as a paramount need is to build my program on a strong base of social-emotional learning (SEL) and mental health and wellness support.

So what is social-emotional learning? Well, social-emotional learning can be divided into five core competencies:

  • Self-awareness: The capacity to reflect on one’s own feelings, values, and behaviours.
  • Social awareness: The ability to view situations from another perspective, respect the social and cultural norms of others, and celebrate diversity.
  • Relationship skills: The ability to initiate and sustain positive connections with peers, teachers, families, and other groups.
  • Self-management: The set of skills that includes self-motivation, goal-setting, personal organization, self-discipline, impulse control, and use of strategies for coping with stress.
  • Responsible decision-making: The ability to make choices that consider the well-being of oneself and others.

A brief overview of what social-emotional learning is and why it is important can be found in this video:

Social-Emotional Learning: What is SEL and Why SEL Matters

Social-emotional learning is foundational to well-being and success in school and life. Not only that, it benefits everyone. Listen to Caige Jambor explain why in his TedTalk “How Social-Emotional learning Benefits Everyone.


I look at incorporating SEL in a multi-pronged approach namely Structure, Policy, Check-ins, Community Building, and Targeted Teaching.




The Reflect Together view

Students as well as teachers are able to see responses over time in the Response view, seen below.

Microsoft Reflect Response view

Teachers can choose to show the Reflect Together view to students to let them see the distribution of feelings in the class, allowing for discussion about the overall “temperature” in the room. Student names are always private and only ever shown to the teacher.

Reflect Together View

Furthermore, teachers can use Education Insights to get views on a class’s overall emotional state and individual student patterns. Filtering the data can let a teacher search for a specific time period, a specific student, a specific emotion, or a specific check-in question. This powerful data allows the teacher to be more in tune with the emotions of their students and gives them the capability to meet needs or implement support based on the patterns seen in the check-ins.

Class Emotional Distribution

Community building

Targeted teaching

Teaching Methods


One response to “A Multi-pronged Approach to SEL”

Leave a Reply

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

%d bloggers like this: