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Nurturing Hearts & Noggins

Promoting academic, social, and emotional learning for lifelong success

SEL: Not a Quick-Fix

As the school year winds down, some school administrators may be celebrating the strides made this year in the area of social and emotional learning (SEL). Perhaps they embarked on a successful school-wide initiative to integrate SEL throughout the building or maybe they spent this year acclimating all of their teachers to SEL. While celebrations may have commenced for some, disappointment may be abound for others. When many school officials learned of the positives that come along with teaching SEL skills (i.e. increased academic achievement, healthier relationships, less risky and aggressive behaviors, etc.), the immediate sentiment is, “We’re going to be a SEL school.” But, the successful implementation of SEL takes time. As much as we may want it to be, it is not a quick-fix. Like many other skills, it takes time for educators to become SEL “champions” and it takes time for students to master SEL skills. It also takes time for support staff and parents to learn SEL “lingo” to support all of the learning happening in the classroom.

So, if you want to integrate SEL into your school or classroom and have not been successful, please keep working at it. The effort will pay off greatly, and your students will reap the benefits. There are many resources available to assist school staff with the implementation of social and emotional learning. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has a vast amount of information just waiting for you at And of course, you can always rely on University of Illinois Extension in Cook County for great research-based information, including teaching strategies and sample lesson plans.

If you are interested in sharpening your SEL skills during the summer, be sure to check out for information about our 2014 Summer Teacher Institute.

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