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What is social emotional learning and how can teachers embrace it?


The transition from childhood into adolescence is one of the most dramatic transformations in a child’s life, and it presents parents and educators with both opportunities and challenges. After all, when you grow up, you are not only learning about the outside world, you are also learning about yourself, and social emotional learning (SEL) becomes an essential aspect of a child’s educational journey.

SEL is all about developing competencies in our youth. It is based on the understanding that the best learning emerges in an environment which is characterised by supportive relationships that make learning inspiring, engaging, and significant, and leads to an educational experience. The well-being of teachers and students depends on such learning environments, and we believe at the IB that such an educational experience is the foundation of a better, more peaceful world.

So how do schools implement SEL in a Middle Years Programme (MYP) setting where we aim to consistently and holistically address students’ intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being?

We have produced a collection of new teacher resources that aims to raise awareness for both the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of SEL; why schools need to give more attention to the emotional dimensions of teaching and learning, and how to do so.

Our new teacher support materials (TSM) contain resources for both students and teachers, plus policies, examples of classroom practice, MYP student interviews (PDFs) and plenty more. They promote the development of more positive emotional environments that contribute to a more holistic development of students through improved behaviour and academic achievement. And we’ve made sure that we included materials that are immediately useful as well as longer-term resources that can help shape conversations at the school level. The materials promote the development of more positive emotional environments and caring communities in classrooms and schools.

IB teachers can go to the new Programme Resource Centre via the OCC to find the SEL teacher support materials and all other resources related to the MYP.