Planning For It

When You Might Use This Practice

  • To communicate the SEL nature of the work staff members do in meetings, professional development, and classrooms
  • To grow staff members’ understanding and recognition of SEL skills


Time Required

  • 5-10 minutes



  • A copy of your school or district’s social-emotional learning standards for each person. If one doesn’t exist, you may use this one.


Learning Objectives

School staff will:

  • Identify which social-emotional learning skills were used during a meeting
  • Reflecting on how a particular skill was meaningful


Additional Supports


SEL Competencies

  • Self-Awareness
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Skills

How To Do It

Reflection Before the Practice

Think back to a recent meeting and use either your school or district’s SEL standards or the one here to identify which SEL skills were used during the meeting. Which skill stands out the most to you?


  • At the end of a meeting, distribute a copy of your school or district’s SEL Standards — or use this one — and ask participants to put a checkmark next to each of the SEL skills they used, or saw others using, during your time together.
  • After a few minutes, ask participants to go back through the skills they checked and circle one that is especially important to them.
  • After another few minutes, invite everyone to stand.
  • Explain that you will go around the room and one at a time, each participant will read their one circled SEL skill (or standard) and then be seated.
  • Encourage participants to look boldly around the room as they read their choice, because everyone who happened to choose the same skill or standard will sit down when they do. If participants want to wave or make a signal of connection, invite them to do so!
  • Ask for a volunteer or invite someone to begin.
  • Once everyone is seated, ask for a few volunteers to reflect on how a particular skill that they chose was meaningful, helped to build trust, or addressed some other issue at hand.
  • To close, you may wish to make a general closing remark or connection to student skill development.



Adapted from an activity created by Oakland Unified School District’s Department of Social-Emotional Learning and Leadership.

Reflection After the Practice

Do you notice a growing awareness of SEL skills among staff members?

The Research Behind It

Evidence That It Works

Ongoing support and training is key to successfully implementing social-emotional learning (SEL) into schools. Indeed, researchers have found that SEL program implementation is more successful when all stakeholders in a school are committed to SEL as part of their professional development.


Why Does It Matter?

Teaching is an incredibly stressful job that can lead to high levels of burnout and attrition. More and more, teachers are recognizing that cultivating their own social-emotional skills is critical for their well-being.

Hence, a practice that reviews SEL skills as a whole staff helps to reinforce teachers’ understanding of and commitment to their own well-being, which will ultimately benefit their students and the whole school.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
–Marcel Proust
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