These are certainly unprecedented times, and as we close out 2020, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that relationships are top of mind for everyone.

With the abundance of disruptions this school year, one important component of learning remains critical: social-emotional learning. The benefits have always been evident. Social-emotional learning provides educators the means by which they create strong and compassionate relationships while tending to the needs of each learner.

Related content: 3 steps for returning to school with social-emotional learning

The importance of social-emotional learning is threefold during this time. First, students are reporting that they are more alone, anxious, and depressed than ever before. The pandemic has forced learning to look different this year, with students not having the same amount of social connection from which they have previously benefited. Above all else, we need to be intentional about building and maintaining relationships that will help support students through difficult times.

Second, we as educators need to model what healthy relationships look like. In a time of division and polarization, students need to see adults modeling compassion, respect, and empathy to cultivate strong relationships.

About the Author:

Angela Jerabek is the founder and executive director of the BARR Center.