Social Emotional Learning for Teachers: An Introduction
Your ability to manage stress and to take care of your own social-emotional health influences your ability to model appropriate emotional expression, to build and maintain effective interpersonal relationships, and to support productive social skills for children. This course introduces the concept of resilience and offers strategies you can use to promote and sustain your emotional and physical health. As you move through the course, identify strategies that work well for you and try others that have the potential to be a good fit. Like most things in life, regular practice will equip you with helpful skills for growth.
How We Feel
Thinking, feeling and behaving are interconnected reactions for humans. They are dynamic activities that interact and influence each other in response to internal or external demands. A simple thought may lead to a physical stress reaction with anxious emotions emerging to defend against some threat. Fearful emotions may surface and our response to them lead to a racing heart. You may find yourself clenching your jaw and think about what stressor might be causing this. Our brain coordinates this complex system, which means emotional reactions can be managed and modified. This lesson explores the impact of emotions and anxiety on our body, mind, and behavior and ways that we can regulate our emotions for our benefit and for the benefit of those around us.
How We Think
Thinking is the superhighway, the fastest and most direct route for altering our moods, intentions, and physiology. What you think, how you view situations, and what you tell yourself about those situations matters. Thinking is a powerful tool for supporting your social-emotional day-to-day functioning. This lesson explores the impact of thoughts on shaping our behavior for good and bad. You will examine factors that influence how you view situations and styles of thinking that emerge through experience, and you will learn more about the reframing strategies introduced in Lesson Two. This lesson will also introduce strategies for replacing unrealistic thinking with realistic thinking patterns.
What We Can Do on Our Own
In Lessons One and Two of this course, you learned about the link between stress and our health, and the connections between thinking, feeling, and behaving. In Lesson Three, you learned about the impact of thinking traps and some cognitive strategies for addressing them. This lesson introduces the basics of controlled breathing, learning to distinguish tense and relaxed muscles, and the use of imagery in fostering relaxation. These self-care strategies can support resilience and positive social-emotional functioning in teachers and caregivers.
What We Can Do Together
Lessons One through Four of this course have focused on your stress and your health and the connections between thinking, feeling, and behaving. You also have learned about and practiced a variety of personal strategies for addressing stress and for fostering a sense of relaxation and well-being. This lesson introduces ways that these same strategies (and others such as thankfulness) can become group activities, creating a culture for positive social-emotional functioning in care and education settings.