According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), social-emotional learning (SEL) helps people of all ages “acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

In the book, Building People: Social-Emotional Learning for Kids, Families, Schools & Communities, 12 contributors--including renowned researchers, practitioners, thought leaders, and more--leverage their unique experiences in teaching and learning to address multiple facets of SEL and its successful implementation in numerous relevant contexts. Each chapter concludes with a set of questions to help the readers reflect on the content and begin to identify areas within their own instruction of SEL achievement, areas to improve, and methods on how to incorporate this type of instruction.

Considering your current practice, what insights do you gain from reflecting on these questions? How might you be a catalyst for better SEL in your school this year?

  1. Who are the SEL ambassadors and reinforcers in your school or organization? How can they be effective at maintaining fidelity and commitment to social-emotional support for all?

  2. In your experience, can SEL be effective if it’s not present in both the school and the home? What about other organizations within the community? If not, how do we ensure it is a part of each setting?

  3. How do you choose to measure SEL in your classroom, both on a day-to-day and long-term basis? What are the indicators that you’re getting it right?

  4. In what ways do you connect to your students’ interests, backgrounds, and cultures?

  5. What are one or two ways your school’s climate could be more inclusive? Where have you missed opportunities to reach out to marginalized populations?

  6. How do we move from the place where including student voice is an exception to a place where it is an expectation?

  7. Does your district have an explicit definition of what SEL means in your schools? If so, how does this facilitate effective implementation? If not, how does this create challenges?

  8. Developing kids into thoughtful members of the community—whether that community is local or global—is one of the objectives of SEL. What are some ways you can expose students to people, cultures, and ideas that they otherwise might miss?

To encounter ideas that will provide new ways of thinking through these questions, check out Building People: Social-Emotional Learning for Kids, Families, Schools & Communities, which is now available through Amazon for immediate download or as a paperback copy. And please send your reflections to us on Twitter @LoveInABigWorld -- we love to hear how you’re implementing SEL strategies!