On March 10, 2023, classrooms around the world will come together to celebrate International SEL Day. This year’s theme is “Uplifting Hearts, Connecting Minds.” The annual event connects schools and communities across the world to promote social emotional learning (SEL), and help students gain lifelong well-being skills. help students gain lifelong well-being skills.

Microsoft proudly supports the academic, social, and emotional well-being of students by providing powerful technology and resources to help students develop future-ready skills like self and social awareness, self-management, and responsible decision making.

“Social and emotional skills are an essential ingredient for success. Also, they contribute to well-being. We know that intelligence is not enough to ensure that children succeed at school or go on to become happy, healthy, and productive adults.” –Mark Sparvell, Director Marketing Education at Microsoft Education and an Emotional Intelligence Society of Australia ambassador.

Importance of SEL

Understanding our emotions, connections, and relationships are a foundational piece of being human. Just as students may need help learning to balance equations in their chemistry class, many people need help learning how to balance their relationships, emotions, and feelings. These social and emotional skills are valuable for children and can be supported at home and at school.

School stakeholders acknowledge the benefits of developing these skills on students. Over 90 percent of parents want their students to gain life skills like setting goals and believing in themselves. For educators, 93 percent want a greater focus on SEL in schools and 80 percent believe that positive emotions — a common result of developing SEL skills — are critical for academic success.

The impact of SEL also extends to academics. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), students who took part in a well-rounded SEL program grew 11 percentile points academically. And researchers have seen a positive impact on students decades later.

Celebrate, uplift, and connect

Many educators may wonder how to introduce SEL in their classrooms, schools, or communities. The International SEL Day team has developed helpful toolkits and resources to introduce SEL in communities. Also, new this year is an online SEL Summit with keynote speakers, resources for families and classrooms, and data that demonstrates SEL’s benefits for learners.

Sign up to participate in SEL Day 2023!

Join Marcus Stroman for a Flip Event on self care

Educators can also introduce learners to Microsoft Flip, a video-based discussion platform, to help facilitate classroom connections and conversations. Flip regularly hosts Flip Events that connect students with authors, experts, and other learners.

On March 30, 2023 at 10am PT, Marcus Stroman, a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, is hosting a real talk on the importance of taking care of your mind and body. Marcus will share his story and experience in overcoming doubt as well as tips and advice on how learners can believe more in themselves and find their inner balance.

Register for this free event.

Tools to help build SEL skills

Microsoft Reflect is a Learning Accelerator in Microsoft Teams for Education that uses daily check-ins, academic reflections, and emotional vocabulary to help students develop social and emotional skills. Through regular check-ins that take just a few moments, students and teachers can communicate feelings, notice emotional patterns, and offer support to help meet each student’s individual needs.

Reflect offers multiple features to support social and emotional growth.

  • Emotional Vocabulary. Students can refine their emotional vocabulary with the help of animated Feeling Monsters that represent emotions.

Screenshot of a Reflect check-in

  • Academic reflection. Students can engage in reflection about their learning experiences alongside course content.

Screenshot of a teacher creating a Reflect check-in

Screenshot of a teacher creating a Reflect check-in

  • Actionable data. Educators can access Reflect data in Education Insights to help spotlight individual, class, or school-wide trends or areas of concern.

Screenshot of Reflect data in Education Insights

  • Connected apps. Reflect shows up in commonly used Microsoft Education tools like Teams for Education and OneNote Class Notebooks as well as PowerPoint presentations, Flip topics, and Kahoot! Quizzes.
  • Build vocabulary and navigate emotions. Explore PowerPoint templates that help learners better understand their emotions.
  • Facilitate SEL discussions. Incorporate one of the 26 Reflect discussion topics in Flip.
  • Develop emotional skills. Conduct Kahoot! quizzes to start classroom conversations about emotions and well-being skills.

Pivoting focus in the classroom

All Hallows’ School in Brisbane, Australia has a unique approach to identifying and responding to their students’ needs. The school uses Microsoft Reflect to capture and analyze student well-being data for both short- and long-term trends. This could mean pivoting from planned instruction to meet an immediate need or could lead to developing school-wide solutions for larger trends.

“I can look at a class snapshot and see how my class is feeling that day. I can read their responses and it shows me, on an individual basis, if I need to touch base with specific students. Perhaps I can see that they’re feeling a bit overwhelmed now, and I can have a chat with them to help them feel heard and to develop strategies to lessen that stress. Or I know that I need to slow down, to stop moving through material at my normal pace.” – Steve Crapnell, Head of Digital Pedagogy at All Hallows’ School

Learn more about All Hollows’ School’s story.

Uplift students and connect with others from around the world by celebrating International SEL Day on March 10 and using Microsoft’s powerful technology to help students develop important social and emotional skills throughout the school year.