SEL Tips for Principals: Boost Staff Morale with Effective Professional Learning

It’s time to breathe new life into your SEL professional development.

One of the best ways to support teachers and boost their morale is through effective, engaging professional learning opportunities. The best professional development goes beyond teaching fundamental skills. Truly effective SEL training increases SEL buy-in, engages and inspires your staff, and prepares educators for a successful SEL implementation. 

Teachers—like students—learn best when they are given voice/choice, differentiation, and engagement opportunities. School and district leaders should minimize the use of one-size-fits-all professional development models and instead prioritize flexible models that can be tailored to different learning styles.

Below are some tips, resources, and strategies for principals to improve SEL professional learning opportunities for staff.

6 Tips for Leading Highly Effective SEL Professional Development

The most effective SEL programs use a comprehensive training model. District and school staff participate, and SEL is prioritized within a school’s strategic plan. Training extends beyond the initial session, and staff are given many opportunities to practice SEL, obtain feedback, collaborate with peers, and receive ongoing support throughout the year.

We’ve put together a helpful tip sheet that includes six ways you can improve your SEL training to increase teachers’ SEL buy-in, get them excited to teach SEL to students and develop their own SEL skills, and prepare them to effectively teach SEL skills to their students.

Increase Program Effectiveness through Continual Support

Like any school initiative, it’s critical to create a plan to meet the ongoing needs of your staff. After your SEL training, follow through with lots of practice opportunities, constructive feedback, and ongoing coaching.

Here are a few resources to provide continual staff support.

Principals’ Guide: Creating an Effective SEL Program that Boosts Achievement
Use our playbook to find solutions to common challenges principals face when launching and sustaining effective SEL programs. Included are tips to overcome obstacles, SEL best practices, and a focus on how SEL assessments can strengthen your implementation. 

Teacher Labs: Making Professional Development Collaborative
Share this video with school leaders to show the benefits of collaborative training. Consider integrating this model into your SEL professional development to boost program success. 

Leverage Research on Curriculum and Professional Learning to Fulfill the Vision of PLCs
Learning Forward Executive Director, Stephanie Hirsh, shares insight on how Professional Learning Communities (PLCS) help improve staff learning and implementation. 

Suggestions for Principals to Provide Teacher Support
One of the most valuable resources for teachers are principals who are committed to providing continual, collaborative support. These tips will help you earn teachers’ trust and improve their morale.

Additional Resources to Support Your SEL Professional Development

Here are a few additional resources to help make your SEL professional learning sessions engaging and effective.

Principal Facilitation Strategies Guide: Large Group SEL Activities for Staff
CASEL experts share ideas for professional development activities that engage staff and provide hands-on SEL training.

Social and Emotional Learning: A Schoolwide Approach
American Institutes for Research (AIR) developed this video to help educators improve how SEL is being taught in school and afterschool settings.

CASEL’s District Resource Site
Access this site for even more resources, rubrics, and processes for creating effective SEL professional development.

EdSERT by Aperture Education

Educator Social and Emotional Reflection and Training (EdSERT) by our team at Aperture is aligned with the CASEL competencies and those measured through the DESSA assessment for students.

Principals can increase teacher engagement and motivation through effective SEL professional learning. Models that are tailored to educators’ learning styles and needs are most effective in engaging staff in the importance of SEL, teaching them how to teach these skills to students, and encouraging them to improve their own social-emotional competence. 

Interested in learning more about how Aperture Education’s educator SEL solution can support you and your staff? Contact our staff and let’s have a conversation about how we can improve and strengthen your SEL professional development.

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