Teachers, school counselors, and school leaders impact student social-emotional learning (SEL) to the degree that they transform each student’s mindset by empowering the self of the student.

SEL is more than simple observable changes in behavior or short-term boosts to motivation. Student SEL is the process of deep change—changing beliefs, assumptions, and paradigms of reality. For example, SEL is going from “no hope” to “hope,” from resignation to having dreams and a passion to pursue new possibilities, from anxiety and depression to inner peace and happiness.

Related: 5 ways we develop SEL in our schools

10 things to look for to see if your SEL efforts are working

When K-12 educators use SEL best practices and methods, they can produce transformational results in school-aged children and adolescents. The focus of this article is not on these methods, but instead on how to understand if you are indeed using SEL effectively and achieving your vision and expectations for SEL.

About the Author:

Dr. Henry G. Brzycki and Elaine J. Brzycki are authors of three best-selling books: Mental Health for All Toolkit; Student Success in Higher Education: Developing the Whole Person through High-Impact Practices; and The Self in Schooling: How to Create Happy, Healthy, Flourishing Children in the 21st Century. They are founders of an innovative think tank providing thought leadership on emotional, psychological and physical well-being through education. For over 20 years they have pioneered the field of mental health and well-being prevention in K-16 schooling. They can be contacted at: Henry@Brzyckigroup.com.


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