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  • Writer's pictureJeff Eben

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Part 2: Becoming a Mentor

My recent post on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) struck a (good) nerve.

“Jeff,” asked my educator friends, “I know how to be a teacher, trainer and advisor, but how do I become an SEL mentor in my classroom?”

Encouraging, leading and mentoring in SEL is a new role for many. To help build an empathic environment for your students, here is a simple three part process:

First, start with modeling the desired Social Emotional Learning behaviors.

Show your students how to respond to requests for compassion. Young children are uncomfortable in vulnerable situations. They often don't know how to react when asked to be thoughtful or introspective.

The best way to set the right tone is for us (the adults) to purposefully use good strategies and point out to our kids what we are doing.

Next, we need to train our students to participate in SEL activities.

For example, literally practice having students clap for each other. Give students a script to help them roleplay conversations where they practice how to "be there* for others. It is important to work with your school psychologist or appropriate staff with expertise in this area.

Finally, pick a regular time during the day or week for SEL check-ins.

The idea of scheduling it helps create a habit for this behavior. That was the principle I lived by when I showed an entire school how to “feel the love.” We talked about it so much it became a habit.

So mentorship then, is the difference between telling students our ideas and teaching our students how to incorporate our ideas for themselves.

Now, as a leadership speaker and culture-building expert, I’m ready to mentor you and your staff.

I'll show you how to build a culture that allows for and encourages Social Emotional Learning and more.

Bring me to your school (in person or virtually) to show your team how to build a culture where there’s a safe environment for students to learn and build their scholastic, social and emotional skills.

Email me at or call me at 559-470-9503 (yes, I answer my own phone) and let's talk about your back-to-school plans.

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