The Complete Teacher


What are the benefits of Social-Emotional Learning for teachers?

Posted by Hlengiwe Zwane on 24 August 2022, 10:30 SAST
Hlengiwe Zwane photo

It is said that teachers immersed in Social Emotional Learning rich content can reflect on and improve their own Social Emotional skill competencies. This can have a significant positive impact on the way they think, feel, and behave, as well as have a profound impact on their well-being both in and out of the classroom.

SEL gives teachers tools that help them to manage stress before it takes hold. By practising self-awareness (one of the five pillars of SEL), they are more in tune with their emotions and are aware of the things that cause them stress. Knowing their triggers enables them to use coping strategies to reduce the risk of becoming overwhelmed.

Another way that Social Emotional Learning can reduce stress is by easing the pressure of meeting academic benchmarks. Students participating in SEL programs are most likely to increase their academic performance by 11 percentile points.

Most teachers would attest to neglecting their self-care by putting their students ahead of their own needs more times than they should have. Teaching SEL creates self-awareness to help teachers prioritise themselves, make positive choices, and recognise when they’re reaching their limits. 

Studies show that chronic stress directs responsible decision-making strategies towards habits rather than goals which can also impede their ability to adapt to change. When teachers can use self-management skills learned through teaching SEL to reduce their stress, their brain is in a position to make more considered and less biased decisions.

Teachers who are more aware of their own and others’ emotions are better equipped to build and sustain positive relationships. Greater emotional intelligence improves relationship skills and promotes positive character traits such as kindness and empathy, which are crucial for warm and engaging student and peer relationships.

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