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Social-Emotional Learning

Building Teacher Capacity for SEL: 7 Practical Strategies

Lara Fredrick
Lara Fredrick
Building Teacher Capacity for SEL: 7 Practical Strategies



District leaders, school leaders, and teachers are united in a common purpose: to provide a positive educational environment for students. For many districts, that means bringing social-emotional learning into every aspect of school life. 

As a district administrator, you may be looking to bring SEL to your district, but are hearing from your teachers that they need more time, support, and resources for building their own skills around SEL instruction. In this article and video, we will share some of the practical ways you can support classroom educators in building their understanding, comfort, and capacity for SEL. 

Download the full guide for more tools, strategies, and resources.



7 Practical Strategies for Building Teacher Capacity for SEL 


1. Model SEL for teachers by incorporating SEL strategies into staff meetings (Tweet This)

Just as teachers find ways to incorporate SEL strategies and activities into the school day, leadership can incorporate many of the same strategies in faculty and staff meetings. Consider beginning a meeting with get-to-know-you questions or a two-word check-in


2. Facilitate teacher support networks around SEL (Tweet this)

Consider ways that other teams within your schools can support classroom teachers with social-emotional learning during lessons. For example, mental health and counseling teams can partner with classroom teachers to introduce SEL instruction.


3. Give teachers direction by setting clear goals and expectations for SEL implementation (Tweet this)

Gathering baseline SEL data from students and adults can help with the process of setting goals. If you use an SEL assessment, do include teachers in the data exploration process to decide what SEL skills and competencies you want to focus on with students and why.


4. Build SEL into school schedules (Tweet this)

Ensure that there is time during the day or week for social-emotional learning activities. This not only helps teachers plan their activities, but it also shows your district community that SEL is a priority. Set aside time (10-15 minutes) in daily or weekly schedules for SEL. This may look different depending on your community needs. For example, you could ask schools to take a few minutes for a daily morning meeting routine, or guide students in a mindfulness exercise during a school-wide or grade-level assembly.


5. Provide teachers with SEL resources, lessons, or curriculum (Tweet this)

Providing your classroom teachers with research-backed SEL lessons and resources can help alleviate the burden for teachers, and ensure that students are getting the instruction that they need. 


Districts that partner with Panorama can access Playbook, a library of hundreds of SEL strategies, activities, and interventions from leading SEL curriculum providers.


6. Offer opportunities for on-going support and training (Tweet this)

Make a practice of sharing resources like articles, webinars, and asynchronous professional development videos with your team. Set aside time throughout the year for teachers to talk with each other to revisit their learnings and discuss any developments.


7. Build strong lines of communication with teachers and gather feedback (Tweet this)

Create opportunities for teachers to share feedback on their experiences, recommendations, and needs related to SEL. One way to elevate teacher voice is through district-wide surveys.

Download "A District Leader's Guide: Building Teacher Capacity for SEL" for more tools, strategies, resources.


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