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Social-Emotional and Self-Care Webinar

  May 2, 2021

    On March 24th, 2021, Inspire Teaching and Learning and Harmony Social Emotional Learning hosted a webinar discussion on social-emotional learning and self-care in the classroom. This discussion was presented by Dr. Tish Jennings at the University of Virginia and had the following guests: Tom Whissinand (National University Grand Prize Teacher Award Winner 2020), Alejandro Diasgranados (DC Teacher of the Year 2020), and Dr. Lori Piowlski (Acting Dean of Teacher Education Department of National University).

       In this presentation, one of the key facets mentioned by both guest teachers was the idea of self-care for teachers as an opportunity to model social-emotional learning for their students. Thus, one of the teachers discussed how he would mention the benefits of keeping a journal for reflecting on your thoughts and showing students some possible ways to do this. Additionally, both teachers mentioned having talks with their students about what they do to take care of themselves when there are multiple stressors happening in their lives. Such a discussion allows the students to collaborate with their teacher in order to feel that they are not alone in needing self-care from time to time. Lastly, both teachers mentioned how important it was to implement self-care with the realization that they needed this to operate at their best and that self-care should be done without shame and with full intention.

      The presentation also included mindfulness-based approaches being implemented into the curriculum and operationalized in classrooms. Mindfulness is the quality of being aware at the present moment or the working towards that awareness while accepting one’s thoughts and feelings at the time. Dr. Jennings discussed how she has worked to develop mindfulness-centered curriculums into pilot programs in Omaha, NE, and Washington, DC. In these pilots, the focus is on compassionate practices, resiliency and self-care for students, teachers’ secular ethics, and mindfulness. Some of the outcomes included seeing higher emotional regulation for students, less classroom disruption, more positivity in the classroom, and higher-grade performance among many students who were struggling in class. This curriculum focuses also on role-play for empathy building and having students reflect on situations they may be experiencing in the classroom, which can be positive for creative and critical thinking.

      Finally, Dr. Lori Piowlski described how important understanding social-emotional learning is in this current iteration of the education profession. She highlighted some of the new stressors that students are experiencing right now and the large burnout that is happening for teachers all across the United States. She mentioned how important positive relationships are for the classroom and how these also trickle down from administrators to the teachers and to the students. As she explored some of the options for social-emotional learning practices online, she also made it clear that there needs to be a commitment that transcends the teachers and is incorporated into the school and district mentality. Based on her discussion, it is clear that we need to remember just how important feelings are to the students and to the teachers who are often dealing with school environments as well as the external world. No matter what kind of educational institution, there are opportunities to enrich the wellbeing of our educators and our students through such an approach.

      If you would like more information on social-emotional learning and self-care, check out some of the other free educational opportunities provided by Inspire Teaching and Learning at: The old webinar can be found here: March Webinar . The next webinar hosted by Inspire will be on May 27, 2021 concerning how SEL teaching can assist with the effects of trauma: .

May webinar




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