George Lucas Educational Foundation

4 Ways to Help Teens Strengthen Social and Emotional Literacy

When middle and high school students are given the chance to build social and emotional skills during the school day, they get better at self-regulation and grow more socially aware—both in and out of the classroom.

November 10, 2023

While much energy is invested in helping young children begin to identify and articulate their emotions, regulate themselves, and learn social skills, that focus tends to taper off as students get older. But social and emotional skills are just as critical in middle and high school, as students learn how to navigate more complex situations and relationships, confront higher expectations that bring more anxiety and stress, and grapple with bullying and social pressures. From gratitude journaling to mindfulness exercises, encouraging positive inner voice to connecting SEL to curriculum, these four strategies will make space for teens to keep building the lifelong skills that will help them throughout school and beyond.

For more on teenagers and SEL, read Sarah Gonser’s article for Edutopia, “High School Is Not the Time to Let Up on SEL,” Daniel Vollrath’s “SEL From Bell to Bell in Middle and High School,” or Sarah Kesty and Mead Ploszay’s “Encouraging Teens to Develop Self-Regulation Skills.”

To learn more about the research cited in the video, check out the links below.

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Filed Under

  • Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • Mindfulness
  • 6-8 Middle School
  • 9-12 High School

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