4 Steps to Help Teachers Blend SEL with Other School Subjects

Although Social Emotional Learning is generally thought to be part of guidance or counseling curriculum, SEL can be incorporated into many different other lessons for other subjects, and help students to get a deeper understanding of both subjects.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) might not seem to fit with other school subjects at first glance. But in instances where students might not understand a concept or lesson, different social emotional skills such as perseverance, hope, and asking for help are skills that can help to better understand what was giving a student confusion and frustration.


Incorporating SEL into other school subjects can happen in several different ways, including:

  • Fostering academic mindsets
    • Helping students see themselves as learners, and feel like they have something to contribute to the learning.
    • This really drives students to want to continue to learn and helps them to make the connection as to why it is so important to keep learning.
    • This encourages students to work on self-management skills such as: exhibiting self-discipline and self-motivation, setting personal and collective goals, using planning and organizational skills, and showing the courage to take initiative.
    • This also encourages students improve on self-awareness skills such as: having a growth mindset and developing interests and a sense of purpose.
  • Aligning SEL and academic content
    • Making connections between SEL objectives and the curriculum for other subjects such as reading, writing, social studies, mathematics, the arts and other content areas.
    • This helps to build and reinforce students’ experience of key SEL skills such as empathy, conflict resolution, and appreciating diversity.
  • Making learning interactive
    • Using instructional practices and structures that encourage student-led discussions, interactions, and teamwork.
    • This gives students the opportunity to build on and improve their relationship skills such as: communicating effectively, practicing teamwork and collaborative problem-solving, showing leadership in groups, and resolving conflicts constructively.
  • Elevating student voice
    • Providing all students with the opportunities to be leaders, problem-solvers, and decision makers.
    • While this also encourages students to use relationships skills, it also encourages responsible decision making and social awareness.
    • This really inspires students to identify solutions for personal and social problems and recognize how critical thinking skills are useful both inside and outside of school, as well as other responsible decision-making
    • This gives students the opportunity to dive deeper into social awareness skills like taking other’s perspectives and recognizing situational demands and opportunities.

While you can incorporate SEL into any of the subjects taught in school, we wanted to create a curriculum that really focused on SEL with a single school subject. Our Rock World Empathy – SEL and Global Studies curriculum for grades 7-9 meets both American School Counselor Association (ASCA) standards as well as Common Core standards for Social Studies.

Below is a music video from the curriculum that focuses on having empathy for those that are different from you. The song has been translated into 23 additional languages. Music videos for each language can be found at our YouTube channel – Rock In Prevention Pat McManus, and free trial lessons for the curriculum can be found at rockdigi.org







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