Relationship Skills: Applying Social and Emotional Learning in Your Classroom
Inside the Classroom

Relationship Skills: Applying Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in Your Classroom

It has been widely accepted that incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL) in the classroom can positively impact student behavior and outcomes. In fact, a growing body of research has shown that incorporating SEL competencies into teaching can result in improved social and emotional skills, attitudes, behavior, and academic performance. So in what ways can teachers implement good SEL strategies?

In this fourth installment of our five-part series on the SEL competencies, we’re going to take a look at how you can incorporate relationship skills into your classroom.


Relationship Skills in Your Classroom

When your students move on to career and college, being able to work well with others will become a crucial life skill, which is why it’s important for students to develop good interpersonal skills early in life. Give students the opportunity to work together on projects in groups or with partners. When assigning partners, try to pair students who are less confident, shy, or insular with students who are more social and self-confident.

When conflicts arise, use it as an opportunity to have students reflect on how their actions affect others. Serve as a mediator and help students communicate constructively, actively listen to one another, and come to a compromise that works for everyone. Foster friendship and kindness in the classroom—set friendship goals—but also be sure to teach students about leadership and responsibility so they will think about the consequences of their actions before caving to peer pressure and unhealthy choices in order to “fit in.”

It’s also important for students to learn how to form relationships with their teachers so they can self-advocate, but speaking with a teacher directly can be too intimidating for many students. Foster communication by providing students with multiple avenues of contact, such as by phone or e-mail, and encourage students to reach out to you for help.


Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. (n.d.). Core SEL competencies. CASEL. Retrieved from

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. (n.d.). SEL impact. CASEL. Retrieved from

Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011, February 3). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405–432.

PBIS World. (n.d.). Teach relationship skills. Retrieved from

About the Author


Debbie Malone

Debbie is an Arizona native and longtime resident of the Phoenix area. She has always had a passion for telling a good story and decided to study journalism and mass communication at Arizona State University where she earned her BA in 2009. Following graduation, she spent four years working as a web content writer before joining the Edgenuity family in 2014. Debbie is proud to be able to share the story of her time at Edgenuity and the company's efforts to propel students everywhere toward academic success and achievement. In addition to writing (both professionally and for fun), Debbie also enjoys reading, gaming, archery, and avoiding sunlight.