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What is Educator SEL?

Educator SEL is for everyone, with ample benefits for professionals in the education sector and beyond.

Educator SEL helps:

  • Administrators

  • Administrative Staff

  • Transportation Workers

  • Teachers

  • Youth Development Organizations that Support Local Districts and Communities

  • Central Office

What Is Educator SEL?

Educators engage in an intentional process to continue to nurture SEL competencies and capacities. Specifically, Educator SEL includes two core components: (1) competencies — processes educators take to nurture their social and emotional competencies (e.g., understanding and managing emotions, forming meaningful relationships, making helpful choices), and (2) capacities — the ability to translate knowledge of SEL to support student social and emotional development.

Harmony and Inspire offer three resources for Educator SEL:

Why Educator SEL Is Important

Investing in oneself pays dividends. Educators with higher social and emotional competencies form better relationships with students, have better classroom management, less controlling classrooms, and support their students more. Harmony provides multiple resources and partners with Inspire to support educator SEL competencies and capacities so children can thrive.

Inspire Educator SEL Pathway:

SEL Competencies

Through the Educator SEL Pathway, Inspire provides modules focused on the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and cognitive competencies. Educators develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to help them interact with themselves, students, colleagues, leaders, and families in a social and emotional learning context.

teacher playing blocks with student in wheelchair

Intrapersonal Competencies

Intrapersonal Competencies include individual knowledge, attitudes, and skills that focus on the self. These include identifying and regulating emotions, understanding beliefs, mindsets, and assumptions, goal-setting and monitoring, and stress reduction techniques.

instructors and adolescent boy smiling over laptop

Interpersonal Competencies

Interpersonal Competencies include the knowledge, attitudes, and skills that help individuals interpret others’ behavior, navigate social situations, build and maintain relationships, and work effectively with others.

teacher high-fiving student

Cognitive Competencies

Cognitive Competencies include the knowledge, attitudes, and skills individuals need to direct their behavior toward helpful actions, including problem-solving, decision-making, and prioritizing based on competing demands.

Inspire Module Connections to Harmony Themes:

SEL Capacities

Integrate SEL practices into your classroom and accelerate your Harmony implementation and student SEL development by engaging in our free, on-demand Inspire modules. Each Harmony unit provides 2-3 Inspire modules to help you further develop your capacities related to each Harmony unit theme while understanding how SEL can foster positive growth and relationships.


Unit 3, “Communicating with Each Other”

Get a small preview of the SEL-based modules you can use to make a difference below: Build your knowledge to support SEL implementation by engaging in our free, on-demand module, “Preparing for Student Discussions.” In this module, you will identify ways to create a classroom environment that promotes enriching conversations by creating norms, considering logistics, and modeling desired skills for your students. You can also review the free, on-demand module, “Strategies for Communicating With Parents.” In this module, you will discover some helpful do’s and dont’s for effective teacher-family communication.

Alignment guide of the Inspire modules and Harmony units here

Harmony Relevancy: Think On It, Act On It

Educator Competencies and Capacities

To demonstrate SEL capacities and competencies that educators need to nurture and model, each Harmony unit asks educators to consider why social and emotional competencies are important (Relevancy). Additionally, each unit helps them frame their social and emotional development (Think on It) and understand contextual influences on student development (Act On It).

teacher showing student book at desk


Building Our Knowledge

This section builds educator SEL capacity by providing up-to-date research on why student social and emotional competencies and sub-competencies targeted in each Harmony unit are critical.

girl in wheelchair

THINK on It:

Reflecting on Our Assumptions

With this section, educators can take a step back and reflect on what they know about social and emotional development and how students and adults use them (self and social awareness). Everyone is different, and this section allows educators to assess how their use of SEL competencies may be similar or different to others in the field through reflection prompts zeroing in on student interactions.

teacher leading class

Act on It:

Understanding Our Students in Context

One of social and emotional learning’s most significant advantages is how it looks at each student and addresses their needs individually. Throughout this section, educators learn how context, culture, and lived experience can help or hinder student SEL development. Educators will also learn how to nurture each student’s individual strengths and assets through action steps or strategies. They will learn to understand and support their students in an informed, nurturing way.

The Educator SEL Pathway was developed in collaboration with experienced academic leaders, administrators, and researchers who share a targeted interest in social and emotional learning as a gateway to more inspirational teaching. We thank and acknowledge the following professionals for their hard work:

Executive Leadership
Michael Cunningham, PhD, Chancellor

Senior Vice President
Scott Page

Senior Editorial Lead
Nick Yoder, PhD

Subject Matter Experts

  • American Institutes for Research
  • Jenny Donahue, PhD
  • Megan Gilden
  • Sara Wolforth

Technology Lead
Richie Ressel

Expert and Educator Reviewers

  • Frances Gipson, PhD
  • Doug Fisher, PhD
  • April Knoer
  • Sarah Frayer

Equity Review
Jonette Marcus

Ready to bring the benefits of social and emotional learning to students in your community?
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