How Can Districts Successfully Implement a SEL Strategy for English Language Learners?

Schools that respect diversity can help protect children against bullying. However, English Language Learners (ELL’s) may experience high anxiety and low self-confidence because they do not feel like a part of the community. These feelings can make it extremely difficult for students to acquire another language. Considering that, when children perceived as different, they may be at a higher risk of being bullied.

Research proves the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) in promoting a safe learning environment and reducing students’ anxiety. Also, the positive effects of SEL are of critical importance for ELL’s instruction, so the first question that districts should ask themselves is: What problem are we trying to solve? And why is SEL our solution? This question is foundational for any district interested in implementing SEL because the answer drives policy decisions, planning, strategy, tactics, and especially, evaluation.

Here are 2 recommendations that the study “Social and Emotional Learning: Why Students Need It. What Districts are Doing About It give districts to successfully implement an SEL strategy in their schools.

  1. Begin with a broad vision: As your district embarks upon SEL implementation, identify the problem you’re trying to solve and how you think SEL will contribute to the solution. Articulating what you want to accomplish with SEL will drive necessary policy decisions about climate, discipline and family engagement as well as the choice of curriculum, how your district measures implementation and how SEL is integrated into other district priorities.
  2. Plan your approach: SEL should be systemic, touching leadership, school culture, student-teacher interactions, family engagement, professional development, communications, and operations. Guided by a vision for SEL, districts should decide how SEL will affect system-wide policies and practices and develop an instructional approach. Cross-functional teams can inform and advocate for the policy changes that must happen before SEL touches classrooms, according to the study “Social and Emotional Learning: Why Students Need It. What Districts are Doing About It”.

The needs of ELL’s are not the same as those of other students and district authorities must understand where students are coming from, both culturally and academically, in order to provide the instruction and support these students need. The implementation of an innovative platform such as Eldventir Adventures promotes SEL in middle-school students. It is available in English and Spanish and helps ELL’s establish positive relationships, giving them a sense of belonging, and a meaningful learning experience that will be relevant for their future lives. Click here or contact paula.sanchez@visionaria.com to run a free pilot within your community.

districts, Eldventir SEL Platform, English Language Learners (ELL’s), SEL, Social and Emotional Learning: Why Students Need It. What Districts are Doing About It, social emotional learning, students

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