Applying Social Emotional Learning in High School

Social-Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning: Introduction

Studies on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) state that students, from pre-K to grade 12, have benefited from SEL (What Does the Research Say? n.d.). With this in mind, it is important that we examine SEL and its impact on high school students. Research has shown that SEL has improved university and career readiness in high school students because it can improve a student’s attitude, relationships, mental health, and academic performance. SEL can also help regulate emotions, resolve conflicts, and avoid engaging in risky behaviors (Dymnicki, n.d.). 

SEL has five main pillars: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Improving these competencies can help with future academic success and employability skills. 

Doing various types of activities in class will help students work on these five pillars. As high school students are more private and are expected to be mature, it is important to do age-appropriate activities that best suit their interests.


  1. In order to improve student self-awareness, which is the ability to understand one’s emotions, you can do private daily check-ins with your students by making an anonymous poll online. It’s important to make sure the students’ responses are anonymous so they can feel safe to share their opinions. When teachers establish a safe classroom environment, students feel comfortable expressing their emotions and opinions.
  2. To improve self-management, which is the ability to understand one’s emotions, you can do an activity called fist-to-five (Fredrick, n.d.). This is an assessment strategy that can collect students’ readiness for a task by having them put up their fingers. A 0 (first) means they don’t quite understand the material and a 5 means that they have a strong understanding.
  3. Group students to discuss current topics, fostering emotional understanding and creating a sense of support. This relies on students feeling that their classroom is a safe space for serious discussions.

  4. In order to work on relationship skills, which is the ability to establish healthy relationships with others, you can have the students create a social contract. A social contract is where you and your students make an agreed-upon set of classroom values, expectations, and consequences that everyone will follow (Fredrick, n.d.). This contract sets class expectations, fostering healthy relationships and promoting responsibility for oneself and peers.
  5. The last SEL pillar is responsible decision-making, which is the ability to make caring choices about social behaviors and interactions. It can help them plan better, not make impulsive decisions, and also motivate them towards their goal. In order to make good goals, students can use the STAR method, where S is specific, T is testable, A is attainable, and R is relevant (Goal Setting, n.d.).

How Does MathProject Implement Social-Emotional Learning for High School Students?

  1. We have 1-1 sessions for students that are organized with respect to the student’s and parents’ needs. 1-1 sessions foster a more personal teacher-student connection, free from intimidation or self-consciousness around others.
  2. Our group sessions offer students the chance to enhance their relationship and social skills in a collaborative setting with peers their age and our teachers.

  3. We help improve self-management and responsible decision-making with our students by making sure their homework is submitted on time. Our teachers inform us when homework has not been submitted and our diligent management team sends homework reminders. 
  4. Our teachers make sure to improve students’ self-awareness by asking questions about themselves and getting to know them better.
  5. Teachers create a safe space in the weekly sessions, building trust with students and monitoring their academic progress. They show concern for both academic and personal well-being, ensuring students feel heard and valued.
  6.  High school is a critical period for students as they determine their identity and future. Our teachers guide them in exploring options and making informed decisions for post-graduation success.

Social and Emotional Learning SEL


Overall there are many different activities and ways you can apply Social Emotional Learning learning to teaching high school students and the outcomes of doing Social Emotional Learning will benefit them in the future. It will improve a student’s attitude, relationships, and mental health, and teach them important life skills that are important for their future. Therefore it is important and beneficial to apply Social Emotional Learning in teaching high school students.


  1. Fredrick, L. (n.d.). 5 Social Emotional Learning Activities for High School. Panorama Education. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from
  2. What Does the Research Say? (n.d.). CASEL. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from
  3. Dymnicki, A. (n.d.). Improving College and Career Readiness by Incorporating Social and Emotional Learning. College and Career Readiness and Success Center. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from
  4. Goal Setting. (n.d.). University of Manitoba. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from