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What is Your SEL Data Doing?

Social emotional learning has been a hot topic in schools around the country, and for good reason. Quite a few schools are now shifting to collecting SEL data in an attempt to monitor its effectiveness. But what is that SEL data actually doing for your classroom?

My first experience with SEL data was when we were required to implement a personalized learning system at our school. One requirement of this program was to spend 5 minutes with every student on our roster per week and document our conversation on paper with their topics of interests, clubs or sports they are in, and any concerns they have.

Teachers, you can imagine the ineffectiveness of this program! With over 150 students on my roster, we are talking about 750 minutes per week of check-ins plus additional time to handwrite data. Yikes!

I found myself asking throughout that year, “what is this data even doing for me?” I spent so much time collecting and compiling data that I couldn’t use it in any meaningful way.

Collecting SEL Data

Data collected for collection’s sake has no meaning or purpose. In terms of social emotional learning, simply having data will not make an impact in your pedagogy.

Thankfully, as technology improves, we have tools like WellCheq that can automate SEL data collection. Using WellCheq’s powerful app, a teacher can get a quick snapshot of the way their students are feeling on a daily basis without using any class time. You can quickly spot trends, notice students who are struggling but afraid to speak up, and be rapid in response to sudden changes in behavior.

Signing up for WellCheq is free and easy! It’s as simple as contacting them or reaching out to them on social media. They are responsive and super helpful!

Putting it to Use!

Even with data collection being easy, what will you as the teacher do with that data? There are a few key practices that helped me take action on the data collected on student’s SEL. Try to implement these steps:

  • Address class-wide trends: Seek out patterns in behavior, interests, worries, weaknesses, strengths, etc. Pull these patterns out and place them into actual lessons. Create relevant content that relates to their life and to the issues they care about most.
  • Celebrate wins: Whether individually or class-wide, celebrate SEL success, progress, and improvement on the same way you would improvement in content acquisition. This will model the importance of an SEL skill set.
  • Do not minimize or eulogize losses: When students are feeling isolated, worried, sad, or other similar emotions, do not minimize or ignore them. Likewise, do not dwell on how terrible those emotions are. Recognize them as a part of the human experience and a valid feeling for the student to have, while directing them to resources and showing your support for them.
  • Recognize the academic role of SEL: Help students understand that their classroom performance will always be tied to their SEL competency. Place importance on it with your actions, behaviors, and what you model. They will not hear you if they do not see you applying it.

There are thousands of applications of SEL data in the classroom. Don’t get caught up in doing it all. Do have a specific purpose and plan for how you will use your data to help your students grow. Whether you use the amazing WellCheq platform or a different data platform, it will only be as effective as your response to the results.

Read next: Teaching with Think-Alouds

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