Anyone who watched a teacher work through the pandemic, facilitating remote learning, knows how important teacher-student relationships are. There are people out there, though, who think kids are being indoctrinated at school. Unfortunately, some see SEL as a problem:

“What’s clear is that there is a segment of the public that has conflated the SEL goal of ‘working well with others’ to mean something other than supporting a student’s learning,” even though SEL programs are not focused on diversity and equity, said Tammy Hughes, PhD, a professor of school psychology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and past president of APA’s Division 16 (School Psychology).

Hmm. Do you think SEL is indoctrination?

Building Teacher-Student Relationships with SEL and Mental Well-Being

3 Ideas


“Integrating Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into the curriculum is not just an educational strategy; it’s a vital foundation for fostering resilience, empathy, and mental well-being among students.”


“SEL and mental health support in schools can act as early intervention tools, identifying and addressing emotional and social challenges before they escalate into more serious issues.”


“Creating a school culture that prioritizes SEL and mental health not only benefits students but also supports teachers and staff, leading to a more compassionate, understanding, and productive educational environment.”

2 Quotes From Others

I. Linda Darling-Hammond, President of the Learning Policy Institute:

“Social and emotional learning skills are foundational to doing well in school, in the community, and in the workplace. They are also critical for mental health and well-being, enabling children to succeed not just academically, but in life.”

II. Dan Goleman, psychologist and author of “Emotional Intelligence”:

“If we want our children to thrive, teaching them to read and write is not enough. They must also be taught to understand their emotions, to be empathetic, and to manage their relationships constructively.”

1 Question For You

How can schools and communities work together to ensure that every student has access to comprehensive SEL and mental health support, recognizing these as essential for academic and life success?