Social Awareness: Applying Social and Emotional Learning in Your Classroom
Inside the Classroom

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

Both educators and policymakers have come to agree that social and emotional learning (SEL) is a vital component of student development and can have a profound effect on academic performance. As students grow into adults, they must face a growing number of interactions with their peers and other adults, and their ability to navigate through these interactions can, in many ways, affect how successful they will be when they move on to higher education or a career. That’s why, as an educator, it’s important to consider SEL in your lesson planning, teaching, and classroom management style.

In this third installment of our five-part series on the SEL competencies, we’ll be taking a look at how you can incorporate SEL and social awareness into your classroom.


SEL and Social Awareness in Your Classroom

Your students will one day leave your classroom and go on to become citizens of their nation and the world. They will be called upon to cast their vote and voice their opinion on a wide variety of topics that can influence the health and happiness of people the world over. Foster that sense of awareness by contextualizing your content to authentic problems and real-world issues that it will relate to.

As part of a class activity, bring in a news clipping about a current event and ask students to think about how it might apply to what they’re learning. You can also create lesson plans centered around performing a community service, such as cleaning up a local park or nature preserve, or hold a food or clothing drive. These kinds of projects allow students to have a participatory role in what they’re learning and give them the opportunity to learn about and explore issues that concern their local community.

Creating context that students can relate to will garner both more interest and attention in your classroom as well as encourage them to keep their eyes and ears open when they’re in the world at large for issues that they heard about in the classroom. Seeing connections between your classroom and the world they live in might enable them to answer the question “Why are we learning this?” on their own.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to check out our posts on SEL and self-awareness and SEL and self-management.


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

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.