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Growing Adult SEL from a Distance

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To support you in providing the best resources and tools for your team of educators, you'll find a variety of links and strategies related to developing adults SEL below.


1. Understand Why Adult SEL is Important

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as "the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions."

When we talk about this definition, what stands out often is the fact that children and adults are able to grow and manage their SEL skills. While we often focus on developing these skills within students, it is especially important to provide strategies and resources for adults who are supporting students. 

To understand why, we can look to “a study from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, [which] found that teachers who were mandated to teach SEL but did not cultivate their own practice worsened their students SEL skills.” And "teachers who developed their own SEL skills not only improved their own well-being, but also improved the social, emotional and academic development of their students." Read more about this research in Panorama's Comprehensive Guide to Adult SEL.

2. Explore "Use Today" Strategies 

Here are some strategies you can use to support adult well-being. These can be used as meeting openers, one-on-one conversations with colleagues, or taught during professional development sessions. You can also send these resources directly to your team.

Self-Compassion Strategies

  • Use a "self-compassion break" to be kind to yourself and remind yourself that you are not alone in how you might be feeling. 
  • Use "S.T.O.P." to be focused, alert, and relaxed when big life moments occur.
  • Write a "self-compassion letter" to remind yourself how others see you.

Tip: When sharing strategies, encourage your team to create and share a commitment using the format "I will [WHAT] by [WHEN]." Modeling this in your communication can create a sense of openness and vulnerability, prompting others to share honestly. 

To see these strategies in action, you can watch the recording of our webinar on Strategies for Adult Social-Emotional Learning and Wellness.


3. Listen to Your Community About Their SEL Needs 

If you have access to Panorama's surveys, there are a few options for surveys you can use to hear from your community about their SEL needs. As part of Panorama's SEL measures, the "Teacher Skills and Perspectives" survey asks educators to reflect on their readiness, preparation, and capacity to support every student socially and emotionally. These results will provide insight into the supports that educators in your school or district think would be most helpful.

Newly released this spring, the Panorama Staff Distance Learning, Well-Being, and SEL Survey asks educators to reflect on their personal and professional needs in a distance learning environment, with topics ranging across adult SEL, collaboration, student engagement, and family communication.

Once you've completed surveys (or if you have already run surveys to learn about your community's SEL needs), you can learn more about navigating and understanding those results by watch our video on reviewing your results. This data can help inform your next steps, including which strategies you prioritize with your team and how you approach future supports for SEL as distance learning continues. 

4. Learn How Other Districts are Supporting Adult SEL 

During changing times, it is important to be able to share and borrow strategies, tools, and learnings with others in our community. Below you'll find a few different ways you can engage with other members of the Panorama Community to better support your team. 

Read our SEL Playbook for Superintendents

This playbook contains strategies from 18 superintendents across the country who are leading social-emotional work in their districts. You'll find tips about communicating, collaborating, and incorporating SEL into back-to-school planning.


Click here to watch the full webinar on Leading Adult SEL in Districts or read the blog post about our key takeaways from this discussion.

Social Emotional Learning

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