Socio-emotional learning is an essential part of the educational process, which is why teachers need to pay more attention to it. However, it becomes more difficult when you are teaching in a virtual environment.
This is because teachers and other educators need to ensure that they are using the correct SEL techniques when learning online. Therefore, here is everything you need to know about social-emotional learning activities for the virtual classroom.
What is socio-emotional learning (SEL)?
To put it simply, socio-emotional learning or SEL is the process by which humans learn to be self-aware and develop self-control and interpersonal skills essential for socialization and communication. SEL is important in making it easier for students to learn the information and then apply it in the real world.
It is crucial to remember that socio-emotional learning will be different in the physical classroom than in the virtual classroom. There is a greater barrier between teacher and student when learning online, which is why the use of SAL should be applied differently and with more nuance.
# 1 Gamify the learning process
First, consider gamifying the learning process. When it comes to social-emotional learning, there are a lot of things that can be presented in a fun, entertaining, and light-hearted way instead of all being business about them. This is especially true for teachers working with younger students who tend to get distracted. You want to keep their attention, which is especially difficult in a virtual setting, but still manageable if you make the lesson fun for them.
But while younger students certainly need to have more games during their lessons, you can still apply the gamification technique when teaching adults. Information can be processed and remembered more easily when associated with positive emotions, and playing games is sure to lead to more enjoyable experiences with students of all ages. Gamified learning will help students exercise patience, communication, problem solving, and self-management, among others. Here are some examples of gamification techniques you can use:
- For the youngest students: Treasure hunts around the house, comedy time where anyone can tell a joke, using emojis in chat to guess vocabulary.
- For students of all ages: Charades based on learned vocabulary, Kahoot, show and tell, inviting a guest instructor.
You can think of other ways to gamify the process depending on the material you are currently studying and how you want to convey it to your students. Experiment and see what works before settling for a particular technique.
# 2 read aloud with students
The next socio-emotional learning technique you can use is reading aloud with students in class. Reading aloud teaches your students valuable socio-emotional skills such as empathy, problem solving, and decision making. Reading aloud also means that students will hone their reading comprehension, pronunciation and other skills. Those who are listening, on the other hand, will be able to improve their listening skills. It is a great situation for every student to be involved and engaged in the process.
The best thing about reading aloud is that it initiates discussions where students can express their opinions and views while actively engaging with the opinions of others. It teaches them to be polite even when they disagree with someone while making their point and countering that of their opponent. Older students will be able to improve their debate skills, which is another reason to engage in such discussions. Reading aloud sessions are one of the best ways to encourage diversity of viewpoints.
These discussions prompted by the read-aloud sessions are probably the most important determinants of the SEL approach. Students of all ages will be able to engage more actively in the text by appealing to their emotions while engaging and interacting with each other, a very social aspect of the learning process.
# 3 check students regularly
Although not exactly a socio-emotional learning technique, regular monitoring of students is a fundamental part of building their learning path. In other words, by checking the well-being of your students on a daily or weekly basis, you will ensure that their life outside of the classroom does not interfere with the learning process. As the education experts at the custom writing review site Best Writers Online note, “This is especially important when it comes to virtual learning when not everyone is physically side by side and they are more. easy to think about other than learning. “
Recording doesn’t have to be too invasive, but you should always do it right, whether you’re working with younger or older students. Here are a few things to try:
- Observe the behavior of the students. Their body language and facial expressions can show how they feel in a particular situation or even throughout class.
- Use small conversations to set the mood. Before a lesson begins, ask everyone what their day is and how they are feeling so that everyone is more comfortable and to see if anyone is feeling down.
- Submit Google Forms to collect student feedback. This is more applicable to older students, but it can be very useful for many purposes. It’s easy to create a form and include questions to get students’ opinions on lessons, learning materials, personal progress, etc.
# 4 teach students to be grateful
Speaking of student well-being, it’s a good idea to start teaching students to be grateful. While this may seem like a more appropriate socio-emotional technique for younger students, you can do this with adults as well. The only thing is that the approaches will vary depending on the age and personalities of the students. Remember that this gratitude should relate directly to the lesson in progress rather than to the lives of the students in general. It’s about learning and how they perceive that learning.
For younger people, try to start with simpler questions. What three things made you happy today during the lesson? What is your favorite thing that you learned today? What book did you enjoy reading the most for this lesson? These questions will allow younger students to reflect on their learning progress and realize how much they enjoy learning even if they tend to be distracted or indifferent to the subject.
For older students, you can either include the aspect of gratitude during feedback moments (for example, asking about it in Google Forms) or talking directly to students about their learning journey. Which book did you like the most? What was your favorite subject and which one are you looking forward to? On what subject do you think you need to work more?
# 5 consider using mindfulness techniques
Last but not least, you can consider using the mindfulness technique in addition to teaching students to be grateful. As mentioned earlier, positive emotions can improve the learning abilities of different students. So, all of these gratitude and mindfulness techniques can be very helpful in teaching students subtle socio-emotional learning techniques that will be activated by their reflection on their learning process. Here are some mindfulness techniques to try with students of all ages:
- Breathing: Different breathing techniques such as belly breathing, bubble breathing, and shoulder breathing, among others, can be a way to relax before or after a difficult test or during a break during a long lesson. Alternatively, you can take short breaks for physical exercise to prevent students from getting tired by sitting for long periods of time.
- Meditation: Meditation sessions can become student favorites if done right. Have students close their eyes, then guide them by telling them to think about their favorite part of today’s lesson, what they were eager to learn, etc.
Overall, there are some socio-emotional learning activities that you can participate in when teaching in a virtual classroom. Use the techniques in this article to help you get started and use SEL more effectively.