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Introduction to Adult SEL

Adult SEL

What is adult SEL? It is the competencies that adults need in order to manage stress and create safe and supportive environments, the skills and mindsets adults need to effectively embody, teach and coach SEL for students, and the overall wellbeing and emotional state of adults in school settings.
Focusing on the social and emotional competence of adults can improve adult wellbeing, create positive work environments, increase feelings of competence and self-efficacy, aid adults in modeling skills for students, and build and support educators’ resilience. Districts and schools can support adult SEL by planning professional learning opportunities for all staff to know and understand what SEL is and the role it plays in day-to-day functioning. District and school level actions that support SEL also include providing the structures for adult collaboration, planning, and self-care.
Adult SEL is further advanced through compassion resilience. The Compassion Resilience Toolkit is a resource for improving overall staff culture. It provides SEL support for educators by promoting the development of skills to manage expectations, set personal and professional goals, build strong relationships, and engage in real-time, ongoing self-care.
Schools and districts can additionally support personal SEL and resiliency growth of staff through, for example, the five high-level practices identified by Transforming Education:
  1.  examine identity;
  2.  explore emotions;
  3.  cultivate compassionate curiosity;
  4.  orient toward optimism; and
  5.  establish balance & boundaries.
DPI’s Student Services, Prevention and Wellness Team (SSPW) has curated a list of resources that connect to Transforming Ed’s five high-level adult SEL practices.

One page resource guides on enhancing educator wellbeing through engaging staff in SEL support the ongoing work of adult SEL. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) also prioritizes strengthening Adult SEL through one of its four focus areas outlined in their Guide to Schoolwide SEL.

Providing time for staff to focus on these SEL practices with themselves and others, and integrating many of the activities associated with this skill building into meetings and staff planning times, can communicate the school or district’s commitment to comprehensive SEL and help to develop working communities that adults will find safe and supportive.