February 23, 2021

3 SEL facilitation tips from teachers

We asked teachers to share three tips that they use in the classroom to get the most out of their experience with TSI’s #WinAtSocial Program and help students navigate social media & social-emotional health positively

Tip #1) It Only Takes 15 Minutes

Implementing an SEL Program into an already busy school day might seem intimidating, so we suggest looking for 15 minutes at a time, just enough to share ideas and create healthy discussion. For example, #WinAtSocial Lessons can a fun and engaging way to begin a variety of classes.  

During a recent professional development webinar hosted by TSI, Dr. Jessica Anderson from Episcopal Academy suggests that “…the lessons correlate greatly with the subject matter. There are some really relevant and easy to run LIVE lessons that we have incorporated.” #WinAtSocial lessons have found their way to Episcopal Academy history and English classes specifically. Advisor sessions, health class, and other classes can be a great fit too.

Tip #2) Get the Students Talking

Getting students to participate can be a challenge at times, so encourage participation by being open. It’s likely that teens, for example, will know way more about social media than their teachers. That’s totally fine! Embrace it and have an open dialogue with lesson topics that students respect.

Bob Sears, the Director of Student Services at Athens Academy in Georgia shared that, “SEL lessons can be intimidating for people because the content can, at times, require a different type of ‘mental’ investment in the material and some people just aren’t comfortable working in the social-emotional domain. However, the approach The Social Institute has taken to create the structure for these types of discussions enables almost all people to be active participants.”

Teachers have shared that they tell students that some discussion topics may be difficult or uncomfortable. This openness can help resolve the very issues that the students need to address because each student is more likely to engage with the topic of the lesson.

Bob even had a student proactively visit his office to share how much their SEL lessons had helped make connections with other students in the class. “In very real ways, the discussions allow students to connect with one another and learn from one another.” 

Tip #3) The Power of Numbers

After partnering with schools nationwide, it’s clear to us that students often love interesting and surprising statistics. With #WinAtSocial Lessons, students learn engaging facts that relate to their life experience. Students also see how answers they give in each lesson compare to responses nationwide and across their school. They get to learn from each other, and it’s a fun way to explore why their peers answered questions differently.

Padrah Gatewood, a French teacher at All Saints Episcopal School in Tyler, TX has two advisories: eighth-grade girls and ninth-grade girls. She shared that, “My eighth graders completed ‘Play to Your Core’ and ninth graders completed ‘Strike a Balance’.  Both sessions promoted excellent discussion. My freshmen, however, had the most eye-opening moments in realizing that their range of phone pickups was from 20-254 among their small group just that morning before lunch.  The ladies went beyond the astonishment of their numbers to have a brutally honest discussion about the why behind their numbers, their thoughts surrounding social media, and honest assessments of themselves.” 

Creating environments to have honest conversations is a great teaching opportunity for educators, and an equally important moment for students to deepen their understanding of their relationships to each other and to technology. 

About The Social Institute

The Social Institute partners with schools nationwide to empower students, parents, and educators to navigate social-emotional health, social media, and technology positively through comprehensive, gamified lessons that meet students on their level as well. We have partnered with forward-thinking institutions across the nation, including Ravenscroft School, Gaston Day School, Bryn Mawr, Gilman School, Woodward Academy, U.S. Olympic athletes, Duke Men’s Basketball, ESPN, and others. For more information, contact us.