SEL isn't a Destination, it's a Process
When I think about what is working to support the well-being and SEL needs right now for our students during distance learning I can think of anecdotal examples of creative ways teachers are connecting with students despite not being physically present. However, the fact of the matter is, no one really knows what's working.
How much data is being collected and evaluated to really know where we stand in meeting the social-emotional needs of students and families? For the past 3 years my school has collected teacher perception data on student SEL competencies. Our surveys gave teachers the ability to support target students' needs in the classroom and monitor student growth. If we tried to continue with that same model of perception data, it would be inaccurate and challenging to evaluate honestly. I think that in order to have a better idea of where schools stand in supporting SEL needs, we need to be proactive in generating student and parent perception surveys on what they need, their foundational understanding of SEL, and their life challenges prior to the start of the new school year. Until schools have data to show to what extent distance learning practices are supporting SEL needs- we are shooting in the dark as to where to target our efforts in supporting students and families. We need to go directly to the source.
I think that new approaches to SEL are something that educators are going to be exploring on a whole new, creative, and dynamic level if distance learning continues. I can see how teachers are going to re-imagine ways of building relationships with students and parents, teaching and practicing SEL skills remotely through small group or 1-on-1 meetings, recording videos, creating websites dedicated to SEL for parents and students with links to outside support agencies. Schools should form leadership teams to call families for well-checks and gather feedback for perception surveys. The possibilities are vast. We know that necessity is the mother of invention, and I believe that technology is a medium that teachers are going to harness to invent better ways to serve the social-emotional needs of students.