After previously looking at the benefits of whole-school engagement in SEAL, CPD Week now provides starting points for embedding SEAL through CPD. We also provide a separate sheet of CPD ideas for SEAL development in your schoolword-4045323

CPD Week info sheet – CPD ideas for SEAL.doc

There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul.
Arnold Bennett

Embedding SEAL
Just about any new or developing way of working will benefit from being embedded right across the school. That way it’s more likely to be absorbed into the very fabric of your work with the pupils. Any change is a challenge; there’s no doubt about it. And change is invariably complex, no matter how positive the desired outcome. But there are key methods we can adopt for helping to ensure that the changes connected to SEAL are as straightforward as possible. Here are 10 questions to help you get started.

1. What will be the impact? – It helps to view the process of embedding SEAL training as impacting two equally important dimensions: the environment in which you all work and co-exist, and the specific skills and knowledge which the training seeks to develop.

2. What skills are needed? – Take time to carefully consider the kinds of skills you want to embed in your training. What is needed in the context in which you work? Typically this will be:

a. understanding of the self and emotions
b. motivation
c. resilience
d. social skills such as empathy.

3. What are our values? – Think about the key values that are important in your school. It’s best to start from where you’re at now rather than where you want to be. It is values and attitudes that can inform behaviour, action and change.

4. Is everyone included? – Go for a whole-school approach where possible, regardless of whether you are working in the primary or secondary phase. In practice this means working out clear goals and stages of achievement, and ensuring that every member of staff is engaged in the process.

5. Where are we all starting from? – Aim to avoid linear approaches to whole-school development. Rather, think about ways to create many different starting points for staff, depending on their current position. There can be no set prescription for this! The only important factor is consistency, but then that applies to any kind of development. Consider ways of working in smaller units within your school so that you are operating on a more human scale.

6. Can we link SEAL training to other initiatives? – There will be many existing initiatives in your school which can be integrated with SEAL development, for example, anti-bullying, Every Child Matters, Healthy Schools, Rights Respecting Schools, thinking skills, developments in 14-19 learning and so on.

7. Are our relationships positive and respectful? – Put a strong emphasis on generating positive relationships between every stakeholder in your school. If adults show respect and warmth when interacting with one another, this will encourage pupils to do likewise.

8. Will our objectives reach the classroom? – Make sure that any objectives you have identified for SEAL make their way into lessons across the board.

9. Do we involve the wider school community? – Encourage the involvement of parents, governors and other members of the community. With their cooperation, the task of embedding SEAL is far easier!

10. Do we model the values of SEAL? – Think about ways in which adults in your school’s community model respect, support, care, work-life balance, stress management, empathy and so on.

Making clear ‘the point’ of something is a great way to ensure that you get commitment from all involved. Perhaps the most effective way of encouraging others to ‘see the point’ of SEAL is to explain that it lies at the foundation of sound thinking and learning; it is what helps young people to enjoy and to achieve and to develop into critically-thinking, compassionate adults. And there’s every reason to support that!

This e-bulletin issue was first published in November 2008

About the author: Elizabeth Holmes qualified as a teacher at the Institute of Education, London and is the author of several books specialising in the areas of professional development and teacher well-being.