Responsive Behaviour Supports: Engaging Social Emotional Instruction

Creating a structure of safety and support in the classroom by using social/emotional instruction is as important to teach as academic skills and is the second of the 10 Key Components to Responsive Behaviour Support in the classroom. Our role as educators involves teaching, modeling and practicing social and emotional skills. Talking about the variety of social/emotional supports during your collaborative team meetings and identifying which supports are the most appropriate is strongly recommended. But, what exactly does social and emotional learning mean?

Take a moment to view this video from Jerome Schultz on “What is Social Emotional Learning?” from Understood for Learning and Attention Issues.

Social/emotional learning is an important skill to teach children to set goals, make decisions, cope with feelings and how to get along with others. When children have strong social/emotional skills they are better able to manage their daily life, build relationships and make informed decisions.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has identified five well researched core competencies that help students develop the necessary skills to be successful.

CASEL (2020). CASEL’S SEL framework: What are the core competence areas and where are they promoted?. Retrieved from

There are many high-quality programs to choose from which include a grade range to infuse the work into your current practices whether that is online or in person. Planning for social/emotional instruction does not have to be difficult. Each school generally approaches it differently and in response to their school culture. Please see the resources below that I often share to support the planning, implementation and practice of social/emotional instruction. Reach out to me at barb.pears(at) if you have any questions or would like to have a conversation about choosing and infusing social/emotional skills into your classroom.

Useful Resources - Elementary

Competent Kids, Caring Communities

This website provides access to a social emotional classroom curriculum for children Kindergarten to grade 5.

Connecting with Others

This book outlines curriculum for kindergarten through grade 2 which focuses on teaching students to learn to be sensitive to differences and resolving conflicts.

I Can Problem Solve

This is a program that teaches primary children the importance of perspective taking, alternative solution taking and consequential thinking.

The Incredible Years

The goal of this program is to prevent and treat young children's behavior problems and promote their social, emotional, and academic competence.


MindUP is a comprehensive, classroom-tested, evidence-based curriculum framed around 15 easily implemented lessons that foster social and emotional awareness, enhance psychological well-being, and promote academic success.

Open Circle

This program proactively develops children’s skills for recognizing and managing emotions, empathy, positive relationships and problem solving.


This website provides programs that cultivate a safer and more positive learning environment, where both students and teachers can thrive.

Second Step

This is a K-5 framework that promotes social, emotional and academic success.

Social/Emotional Learning in a Virtual Classroom

This website shares an example of a social emotional learning activity calendar.

Skillstreaming in Early Years

This is a four part intervention program that focuses on modeling, role-playing, performance feedback and generalization.

Tribes Learning Communities

Tribes Learning Communities is a research-based process that creates a culture that maximizes learning and human development.

Useful Resources - Junior/Senior High

Lion’s Quest, Skills for Adolescence

PreK to 12 social emotional learning program that focuses on positive behavior, connection to school, character education, anti-bullying, drug, alcohol, & tobacco awareness and service-learning.

Second Step: Student Success Through Prevention for Middle Schools

Second Step SEL program to promote the social-emotional development, safety, and well-being of children from Early Learning through Grade 8.

Skillstreaming the Adolescent

This is a four part intervention program that focuses on modeling, role-playing, performance feedback and generalization.


CASEL (2020). CASEL’S SEL framework: What are the core competence areas and where are they promoted?. Retrieved from

Capstone (2020). Social and emotional learning and pebble go. Retrieved from

Goleman, D. (2006). Emotional Intelligence. Bantam.

Author: Barb Pears