5 ways to use social-emotional learning and positive psychology

5 ways to use social-emotional learning and positive psychology

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When students are developing their identities, acquiring psychosocial skills, and being influenced by their peers, they are at a particularly vulnerable time that can be helped by a sense of belonging at school. Their interactions, relationships, and achievements not only affect their present but also how they interact, relate, and achieve in the future, as well as their ability to adjust and function on a psychosocial level.

A sense of belonging at school improves a student’s academic performance and success, as well as their emotional and physical well-being. Students who do not feel like they belong at their school are more likely to skip class, act in ways that hinder their academic success, leave class early, and experience school-related violence.

The importance of socio-emotional learning

Social-emotional learning (SEL) covers a range of abilities that help a person shape their identities, such as emotional control, empathy, and interpersonal skills. The four main competencies that SEL can provide are awareness of self and others, positive values and attitudes, the ability to make responsible decisions, and social competence. Fostering these areas is the aim of Together for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.

What is positive psychology and why it is important?

Creating a positive learning environment in your class can be challenging. Pressures in the staff room, challenging parents, and a significant amount of marking work can all be debilitating, and students may behave in a disinterested or challenging way.

The main focus of traditional psychological approaches is on solving life’s problems. However, positive psychology aims to help us develop strengths so that we can cope better with life’s challenges, rather than attempting to solve specific problems.

Positive psychology emphasizes the following benefits:

  • Providing encouragement
  • A strong sense of determination and tenacity
  • Gratitude

Also Read: How teachers can use the best tools and resources available to create a modern classroom?

Here are some ways to enhance a sense of belonging in the classroom using socio-emotional learning and positive psychology:


1. Know your students’ feelings:

Teachers should provide some space where students can mark their feelings using an emoji chart or a stoplight (green means good, yellow means not so good, and red means they need a break).

2. Offer opportunities for teamwork and partner work:

This gives kids a chance to practice self-regulation skills and aids the teacher in matching up partners, such as pairing an outgoing kid with a shy kid. “We can begin to see where they excel and where they can grow.”

3. Incorporate mindfulness:

Children and teenagers can learn mindfulness through breathing exercises, sensory activities (such as smelling calming lavender or energizing citrus), and instruction on being aware of their surroundings.

4. Encourage good relationships with teachers:

It is essential for students to have at least one supportive adult in the school setting whom they can rely on. Such individuals should provide academic and emotional support, creating a bond based on safety, respect, and understanding. Such relationships between students and staff are essential for success both inside and outside the classroom. Furthermore, one should pay attention to the importance of building connections with non-teaching staff members too.

5. Recognition from teachers:

When students receive positive and candid feedback on their work, they feel successful and accomplished. Timely recognition from teachers on their achievements will assist students in maintaining their positive attitude. In addition to paying attention in class, students who receive support and engagement in the classroom form stronger relationships with their teachers and peers and perform better academically.

Students can lose focus and become disengaged in the classroom because of all of life’s ups and downs. An integral part of socio-emotional learning and positive psychology-based learning is allowing every student to develop resilience, emotional quality, and interpersonal skills and learn how to deal with and manage difficult circumstances.


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