Tips for Supporting Social-Emotional Growth in the Classroom

Social-Emotional tips for teachers

Being an educator often means more than teaching just the lesson plan. It means modeling positive behavior and attitudes in the classroom. Think back to when you were a student, was there an educator that you admired for being relatable and conversational? It’s time to reciprocate that kindness by being there the same way for your students. In this blog post, we will explore five practical tips to help teachers support social-emotional growth in their classrooms.

Building Positive Relationships

One of the fundamental aspects of supporting social-emotional growth is building positive relationships with our students. This doesn’t in any way mean you should force them into a conversation with you. This will likely drive them further away. Instead, just be available. If they want to tell you about a song, show, or game they’re into right now, actively listen. They are trusting you with personal information about themselves and by talking with them on their level, they will feel heard and respected. 

Eventually, when these students have a problem, they’re going to go to the cool teacher they felt they could trust as a friend.

Encouraging Emotional Intelligence


Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions, as well as empathize with others. Often when we teach empathy the question that always gets thrown at the kid is: “Well, how would you like it if they did it to you?”

This will likely fall flat and be met with “I wouldn’t care” because that student is more focused on not losing the perceived challenge in front of them.

Instead, make it clear this isn’t a game or about winning or losing. Clearly state what the student did and explain: “Hey, I get why you thought it was funny to do that but I feel like when you said ________ you hurt them pretty badly, are you okay with that?”

By having a conversation with the student instead of telling them what they did was wrong, they’ll feel respected and likely think more critically about their actions.

Emotional Intelligence Activities

For those of you who have seen any movie with overbearing authority figures, this doesn’t mean acting out a situation for the student.  

When we say emotional intelligence activities we actually mean normal class activities that nurture emotional intelligence. For example, try discussing the emotional intent of characters in literature or relating a moment in the lesson to something about your personal life.  

Teaching Conflict Resolution

Conflicts are inevitable, even in the classroom. Teaching students effective conflict resolution strategies empowers them to handle disagreements constructively. Encouraging active listening, perspective-taking, and negotiation skills can help students resolve conflicts peacefully. Additionally teaching students when to simply walk away is extremely powerful. 

By guiding them through the process and modeling appropriate behavior, we equip them with valuable tools they can carry throughout their lives.

Promoting Social Responsibility

Social responsibility involves understanding and actively contributing to the well-being of others and the community. By engaging students in projects that promote social responsibility, we instill a sense of empathy, compassion, and civic engagement. Encouraging participation in community service activities, discussing global issues, and promoting inclusivity and respect within the classroom are all effective ways to foster social responsibility.

The Wrap-Up

Supporting social-emotional growth in the classroom is crucial for our students’ overall well-being and success. Don’t forget, they are at a time in their lives when they have the most to say and folks aren’t always willing to listen. By meeting them on their level, having open conversations, and modeling positive attitudes and behaviors, you’ll equip students for social-emotional success.

It’s not too late to set a New Year’s resolution if you haven’t already! Check out our blog post on New Year’s Resolutions for Teachers.


  • Rob Shield

    Rob Shield is based out of Columbus, Ohio. As Numerade's copywriter, Rob uses their extensive background in education to inform and shape the topics and content posted to the blog for educators, parents, and students alike.