A tool to help school staff reflect on their own SEL strengths and areas for growth

Personal SEL Assessment and Reflection

School staff complete a written tool to assess and reflect on their own SEL strengths and areas for growth.

Level: Adult
Duration: ≤ 30 minutes
My Notes: Add/Edit Notes

Planning For It

When You Might Use This Practice

  • During staff meetings or trainings
  • For personal reflection


Time Required

  • ≤ 30 minutes




Learning Objectives

School staff will:

  • Reflect on their SEL competencies
  • Identify areas of strength and growth
  • Make an action plan for improving areas of growth


Additional Supports


SEL Competencies

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Skills
  • Responsible Decision-Making

How To Do It

Reflection Before the Practice

  • Set aside 30 minutes of uninterrupted time in a quiet space to complete the tool.
  • Take a few deep breaths to center yourself.
  • Be kind and gentle to yourself as you note your responses. This tool is meant to be helpful to you and your colleagues, and ultimately to benefit your students.



  • This tool was designed for self-reflection. It should not be used to evaluate performance. Principals, administrators, SEL team members, and staff members can use it to assess their personal strengths and think about how they can model those strengths when interacting with others.
  • The tool also offers prompts that encourage thinking and strategies to promote growth across areas of social competence.
    Insights gained from this personal reflection tool can be effectively used during SEL professional learning. After individuals privately complete the tool, they can discuss general themes and examples of strengths and challenges with partners or in small groups. During regular staff meetings, staff can revisit personal goals to mark progress and update.

The Practice

  • Begin by downloading the tool here.
  • Read each statement and think of specific related situations, then rate yourself on the statement by marking the appropriate box (rarely, sometimes, often). If a statement does not apply to you, draw a line through the rating box.
  • When you finish, search for patterns of strengths and challenges to guide your personal social-emotional growth process. This information is for you, so answer accurately without judging responses as “good” or “not as good.”
  • After completing the reflection, take action in light of what you learned.
    • Reflect upon the results to draw conclusions about your progress.
      • If you consider that statements marked as “often” could be indicators of personal strengths:
        • How do these strengths affect your interactions with students and peers?
        • What competencies do your strengths relate to?
        • Which of your strengths do you believe will help you guide schoolwide SEL?
        • Which are you most proud of?
      • If you consider that statements marked as “rarely” could be considered as current challenges:
        • How might enhancing this area benefit your interactions with students and/or peers?
        • To which competency or competencies do your challenges relate?
        • Select one or two areas you believe would help you promote schoolwide SEL.
        • Develop a strategy to remind yourself to practice this new behavior, or bring it up as something to work on with a mentor or a coach.
      • When looking at your responses, were there things that surprised you? Were there things that confirmed what you already knew about yourself?
    • List ways you can model your strengths for others and embed them throughout the school day.
    • List ways you can improve on any challenges you currently face.



Adapted from the CASEL Guide to Schoolwide SEL, developed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). CASEL, a nonprofit founded in 1994, defined social and emotional learning (SEL) more than two decades ago. Today, CASEL is a trusted source for knowledge about high-quality, evidence-based SEL and collaborates with leading experts and supports districts, schools, and states nationwide to drive research, guide practice, and inform policy.

Reflection After the Practice

Was this tool helpful? Did it give you a deeper insight into your strengths and areas of growth around SEL? If so, in what ways?

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 and school leadership are demanding jobs, to say the least. Yet research shows that cultivating social and emotional skills can help lessen burnout and turnover and increase job satisfaction in both teachers and principals. In addition, these skills can also help improve relationships with students, leading to higher academic achievement.

For example, knowing how to relate to their emotions effectively increases teachers’ level of energy and their resilience when faced with challenges. Teachers with social-emotional competencies are also more engaged in their work, focusing much of their attention and effort on the task of teaching.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
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