Teacher Spotlight: Lisa Hinshelwood’s 5 Tips on Teaching SEL


Peekapak is excited to have Lisa Hinshelwood, SEL teacher at The Nueva School, CA, talk to us about how she teaches Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and offering 5 tips she has for other educators based on her experience in the field of SEL, psychology and early childhood development.

Peekapak: Lisa, why have you made it your mission to teach SEL?

Lisa: As we are all aware, social and emotional acuity is not separate from academic achievement. SEL is a lifelong process and helps foster a person’s well being and success both intra and inter-personally. I am passionate about teaching these skills to all children and adults, and I am confident that people with strong SEL abilities contribute to create better communities and a better world.

Peekapak: Given all your great experience and capacity as an SEL teacher, can you share 5 tips on teaching SEL?

Lisa: Definitely! I think it’s important for educators to try to ensure the following 5 things are practiced and enforced in their classrooms and schools:

  1. CHECK IN: We go around the circle and students take turns sharing how they are feeling. This is a ritual and routine in class which helps to build community, feelings of safety, respect, and active listening skills.
  2. CULTURE OF SEL: SEL has to be something that is valued by everyone at the school and embedded in school culture. It’s not just a set of skills; it’s a way of thinking and interacting with children and one another. SEL must be prioritized as a training and educational component, and schools need to build a common language that fits their culture.
  3. CONSISTENCY: Similar to the above, with a culture of SEL, one needs consistency. SEL should be taught more than a few times a year, or embedded consistently in classroom teaching and practices.
  4. CURRICULUMThe curriculum should be flexible and responsive. The needs of a class or group of children should be addressed. One needs the ability to change plans on the spot.
  5. QUALITY: SEL should be considered of the same importance as any academic subject, and provided with necessary time and resources to create a robust program. Faculty who teach SEL need to be qualified, calm, patient, and non-judgmental.

Peekapak: Thanks Lisa!

About Lisa: Lisa is originally from and grew up in Corona del Mar, California. She studied psychology in college at Scripps and U.C. Riverside. Then she went to graduate school at UC Berkeley and got an M.A. in Education and a PhD in Educational Psychology. She is passionate about children’s rights, nature, family, travel, culture, and languages. In her free time, she plays tennis, gardens, hikes, and tries to spend as much time with family as possible.

About The Nueva School: Nueva is a student-centered school known for its distinctive inquiry-based interdisciplinary studies, constructivist project-based learning, and its pioneering work in social emotional learning and design thinking. www.nuevaschool.org

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Ami Shah is a Co-Founder & CEO of Peekapak, an edtech startup that teaches social-emotional learning skills like self-regulation, empathy and team work in the class and home. Peekapak is backed by; Silicon Valley based accelerator, Imagine K12, the Edtech vertical of Y Combinator and; the Unreasonable Institute.