15 Best Online SEL Trainings for Teachers

Nothing gets a lesson off-track more quickly than loud disruptions, unengaged students, and negative talk. When teachers have the skills to manage their classrooms effectively, they can minimize disruptions that get in the way of learning. Proper classroom management ensures that students know what the teachers expect of them by creating structure and clear goals. A well-managed classroom is one where students participate not just willingly, but excitedly! The content matters to them and they are motivated to learn and contribute to class activities.

15 Best SEL Courses

Why SEL Training?

Teachers are used to talking about how to develop reading or math skills, but it’s just as important for students to learn social and emotional skills. These skills, which are essential to every person’s learning, relationships, and career, should be taught early and often.

But how does this relate to classroom management?

Students with well-developed social and emotional skills know how to keep their own emotions in check. They are also more empathetic when dealing with others. This means that these students are less likely to act out during class, causing fewer bothersome and time-consuming disruptions. Research also suggests that students skilled in social and emotional learning (SEL) perform better academically.

As a teacher, you can make a big difference in your students’ social and emotional growth by taking some time to learn how to teach these essential skills. SEL training is a worthwhile investment in your professional development and our students’ futures.

Let’s look at 15 of the best online SEL training that teachers can use to further their classroom management skills.

Best Online SEL Trainings for Teachers

1. The Teacher and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Specialization (Coursera) →

2. The Teacher’s Social and Emotional Learning (Coursera) →

3. Expanding SEL (Coursera) →

4. Teacher SEL: Programs, Possibilities, and Contexts (Coursera) →

5. SEL for Students: A Path to Social Emotional Well-Being (Coursera) →

6. Social-Emotional Learning with Remote Teaching: Engagement with Technology (University of San Diego) →

7. Social-Emotional Learning and Teaching: Home, School, Work (University of San Diego) →

8. Social-Emotional Learning, Remote Learning and Student Engagement Webinar (University of San Diego) →

9. All Learning Is Social Emotional Learning (Creighton University) →

10. Online Certificate in SEL & Behavioral Wellness (Drexel University) →

11. Master of Arts in Social Emotional Learning (National University) →

12. Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development Online Certificate Program (Rutgers) →

13. Skills-Based Health/Social Emotional Learning (Cambridge College) →

14. Social-Emotional Learning (Whitworth University) →

15. Certificate in SEL and School Climate (Quinnipiac University) →

Online SEL Trainings for Teachers

Online courses are a great way for busy teachers to fit convenient professional development training into their hectic daily schedules. You can take many online at your own pace, with lessons available on demand. Whether you’re on your free period between classes or curled up on the couch in the evenings, you can learn new skills without having to travel to a classroom. Learn whenever you want, wherever you want; you don’t even need to change out of your pajamas!

1. The Teacher and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Specialization (Coursera) →

The Teacher and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Specialization

Price: $49/month

Duration: Approximately 6 months

In this certificate program, teachers will take five separate courses to earn a certificate in social and emotional learning. The courses focus on the five key skills students must learn to achieve optimum social and emotional competency: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible-decision making. This program is unique in that it encourages teachers to take time to think about their own social and emotional wellbeing while examining how SEL can be used applied in K-12 classrooms. The capstone of the course guides participants through a unique hands-on project that allows them to apply all of the skills that they have learned throughout the courses.

You will learn:

  • techniques to evaluate your own social and emotional wellbeing
  • the history of SEL in K-12 schools
  • the impact of social and political systems on students’ social and emotional wellbeing
  • methods for creating an SEL program
  • best practices for developing your own SEL curriculum

User feedback:
“It is an amazing course for all teachers and educationists who want to dig deep into the subject of social and emotional learning. I learned so many things and I hope it will benefit me in the future.”

Best for:
K-12 teachers and pre-K teachers

2. The Teacher’s Social and Emotional Learning (Coursera) →

The Teacher's Social and Emotional Learning

Price: $75

Duration: 13 hours

In recent years, many teachers and schools have begun to realize the importance of SEL for students. However, few programs consider the social and emotional wellbeing of teachers; how can we teach emotion management if we’re still struggling with it ourselves? This course examines the reasons why the emotional examination is crucial for teachers. By reflecting on their own emotions, teachers can better impart social and emotional skills to their students.

You will learn:

  • why SEL is important for all teachers
  • how teaching affects the mental and emotional health of teachers
  • how to examine sadness in the classroom
  • how to examine joy in the classroom
  • the value of grit and wholeness

User feedback:
“I was feeling down about my recent teaching experiences and this course has reconnected me to why I began teaching in the first place. I will return to the readings for future enlightenment.”

Best for:
K-12 teachers and pre-K teachers

3. Expanding SEL (Coursera) →

Expanding SEL

Price: $75

Duration: 12 hours

This course takes a unique approach to SEL by examining community-based and youth-empowerment approaches to social and emotional skills, making the whole community a vital part of each student’s learning. Many students’ social and emotional development is limited by structural systems such as institutional racism and immigration issues. This course examines these systems and how they affect the wellbeing of students. You will also learn strategies for helping students overcome these barriers.

You will learn:

  • behavior management techniques
  • a cultural approach to SEL
  • how to measure SEL success
  • approaches to self-awareness and self-management
  • approaches to social awareness and relationship building

User feedback:
“I liked how this course focused on breaking down the 5 core competencies of SEL and how they relate to justice and injustice – namely – who was SEL “meant” for, and how do these tenets serve and leave behind students that come from varied backgrounds?”

Best for:
K-12 and pre-K teachers

4. Teacher SEL: Programs, Possibilities & Contexts (Coursera) →

Teacher SEL: Programs, Possibilities, and Contexts

Price: $75

Duration: 14 hours

This course focuses on making a close examination of the history of SEL. What programs and strategies have been used successfully in the past by the earliest and most recent SEL programs? What alternative strategies are available to customize and SEL plan? Which approach is best for your unique classroom and your students?

You will learn:

  • how mindfulness can benefit teaching
  • the Center for Courage and Renewal’s approach to SEL
  • how film, fiction, and other texts can be used for SEL
  • how students’ families and communities affect their social learning
  • how a teacher’s emotional and social context affects SEL

User feedback:
“This course was very good. I enjoy the topic because I believe that social emotional learning needs to take place for children and teachers and parents together.”

Best for:
K-12 teachers, pre-K teachers, and parents

5. SEL for Students: A Path to Social Emotional Well-Being (Coursera) →

SEL for Students: A Path to Social Emotional Well-Being

Price: $75

Duration: 13 hours

This course presents the history of SEL in schools around the country and how it has helped students learn and grow. The instructor takes a deep dive into the research that has informed SEL programs in schools over the last few decades. The course introduces best practices for developing and SEL program in your classroom. You will also learn how to tailor SEL to your classroom based on the age and maturity of your students.

You will learn:

  • how SEL impacts academic performance
  • the purpose and origins of SEL
  • characteristics of effective programs
  • how SEL can be used in elementary school classrooms
  • how SEL can be used with older students

User feedback:
“This course provided insight into the reasons social emotional learning is vital for students’ success in life, and provided many data points to support SEL as an academic positive, as well.”

Best for:
K-12 teachers, pre-K teachers, and parents

University SEL Trainings

Another approach to online SEL professional development is enrolling in university courses. These classes operate in much the same way as other online formats. However, with a university course, you know you’re being taught by experts in the field. In addition, university courses can more easily be applied to advanced or additional degrees than courses from other forms of online learning, giving you the biggest bang for your buck.

6. Social-Emotional Learning with Remote Teaching: Engagement with Technology (University of San Diego) →

Social Emotional Learning with Remote Teaching: Engagement with Technology

Price: $307

Duration: 180 days

This course focuses on the technology of the future: remote learning. Although it may seem unusual to think about social and emotional skills as part of an online class, the course will show you ways to incorporate SEL into a digital format. Content includes lessons on motivation and engagement in a digital arena, where many students struggle to keep focused. You will prepare lesson plans and activities that can be used immediately in your classroom.

You will learn:

  • research on SEL
  • techniques and tools for student engagement
  • technology for maximum engagement
  • how to create SEL projects
  • the benefits of remote SEL learning

User feedback:
“At USD, I feel as though I am accepted and encouraged to express myself. I am challenged to pursue my ideal career path and am given the necessary resources to do so from my professors, classmates, and peers.”

Best for:
Secondary school teachers, administrators, and primary school teachers

7. Social-Emotional Learning and Teaching: Home, School, Work (University of San Diego) →

Social-Emotional Learning and Teaching: Home, School, Work

Price: $307

Duration: 180 days

This course takes a “character development” approach to SEL. You will learn about which emotions make a difference in education, relationships, and careers, why they matter to each student, and how best to manage them. The course examines prevailing methods and best practices while encouraging students to customize methods for their unique needs. Class content covers a wide range of social and emotional skills for a comprehensive look at SEL.

You will learn:

  • important SEL literature and research
  • best practices for schools and teachers
  • strategies and activities for SEL
  • how student development relates to character
  • the necessity of school-life balance

User feedback:
“Online instruction is difficult for me to engage with, yet the commitment my teachers have shown to quality education is amazing and I thank them for it.”

Best for:
Secondary school teachers, administrators, and primary school teachers

8. Social-Emotional Learning, Remote Learning and Student Engagement Webinar (University of San Diego) →

Social Emotional Learning, Remote Learning and Student Engagement Webinar

Price: $100

Duration: 1 month
Learning to engage with students remotely is a challenge: one that becomes more apparent with every passing year. It’s even more challenging to help the learners in your virtual classroom engage with each other: a vital component of social growth. In four one-hour webinars, this course provides important information about using digital technology for SEL. The class format allows you to collaborate with other teachers to find the best strategies for your classroom.

You will learn:

  • SEL core competencies
  • educational technology tools
  • remote learning research
  • remote learning best practices
  • strategies for designing remote SEL lessons

User feedback:
“I have really enjoyed taking online classes at University of San Diego. My professors have been kind, understanding, and responsive for the most part.”

Best for:
Secondary school teachers, administrators, and primary school teachers

9. All Learning Is Social Emotional Learning (Creighton University) →

All Learning Is Social Emotional Learning

Price: $495

Duration: 4 weeks
This course focuses on how teachers and schools can make sure that SEL is being addressed in every lesson plan, no matter the topic. These lessons will allow teachers to create a healthy, engaging environment for every student in every classroom. The goal of the material is to deepen the teacher’s understanding of using SEL to better serve students. This is particularly important for the diverse populations of today’s schools.

You will learn:

  • the five categories of SEL
  • how to teach SEL concepts to students
  • how to measure SEL results
  • how to apply SEL in a school setting
  • the diverse ways SEL impacts students

User feedback:
“It doesn’t matter at what point you are in your career, you can always learn by hearing from others and where they are at. When you think about continuous improvement and evolving where you’re at as an individual, education is one way that can help you do that.”

Best for:
K-12 teachers, pre-K teachers, administrators, and parents

10. Online Certificate in Social Emotional Learning & Behavioral Wellness (Drexel University) →

Online Certificate in Social Emotional Learning & Behavioral Wellness

Price: $1,007

Duration 3 months
Many students will experience trauma during the school years: approximately one in five, in fact. Teachers and administrators need to be prepared to handle these difficult situations that students are bringing into the classroom. This course will teach you how to create a supportive atmosphere for all of your students, no matter what they’re facing. The course also provides techniques for building relationships with other members of a student’s support system to give them the best emotional and social supports.

You will learn:

  • the educational impact of trauma
  • creating a supportive environment
  • evidence-based strategies
  • techniques for working with parents
  • building supportive relationships with the community

User feedback:
“I am enjoying everything that is offered from Drexel. The teachers that I have had are wonderful and I am learning a great deal from these classes.”

Best for:
K-12 teachers, pre-K teachers, administrators, and parents

11. Master of Arts in Social Emotional Learning (National University) →

Master of Arts in Social Emotional Learning

Price: $650 per course

Duration: four weeks per course

If you’re looking to truly gain mastery over the art of SEL, this is the program for you. This set of courses will help you to be an agent of change in your school and community by tending to the emotional and social needs of each student. Topics include self-care, cognition, trauma, and other important aspects of SEL. The program addresses SEL in terms of personal identity, culture, leadership, community, and programs.

You will learn:

  • SEL research, theory, and practice
  • creating action research plans
  • evaluating the impact of SEL
  • SEL frameworks and policies
  • social and emotional leadership

User feedback:
“National University is outstanding. I am prior military and is one of the most military friendly schools I have attended. Staff and advisors are excellent and help with all question and any guidance needed. If you like a challenge, this is the school for you.”

Best for:
K-12 teachers, administrators, and pre-K teachers

12. Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development Online Certificate Program (Rutgers) →

Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development Online Certificate Program

Price: $290-495 per course

Duration: 10-18 weeks per course

The practitioners of this course believe that every child deserves to be taught how to develop their socio-emotional character and that every teacher is responsible for guiding students through their social and emotional growth. This program teaches you to develop inspiring, challenging, and safe classroom content to engage your students in a comfortable setting. The program offers two separate tracks to help you learn the research, theories, and practices to guide your students through SEL. The school offers a supportive community to help every teacher learn and grow in a way that suits them best.

You will learn:

  • foundations of SEL instruction
  • SEL theories and research
  • pedagogies for direct instruction
  • methods and best practices
  • SEL projects

User feedback:
“Online classes at Rutgers are excellent and professors are always helpful and engaging. Sessions leave students to be well informed in the subjects.”

Best for:
K-12 teachers, administrators, and pre-K teachers

13. Skills-Based Health/Social Emotional Learning (Cambridge College) →

Skills-Based Health/Social Emotional Learning

Price: $574 per course

Duration: 3 months per course

The Cambridge SEL program is standards-based, making sure that every learner is prepared to meet the rigorous expectations of a school professional. Students will learn all necessary material for the Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers, the National Health Education Standards, and the CAEP health education teacher education standards. The program focuses on preparing teachers to guide their students through the process of integrating healthy behaviors into their lives and learning for their personal wellbeing. Topics include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

You will learn:

  • principles of SEL promotion
  • building positive emotional behavior
  • risk reduction
  • positive behavior change
  • school-based interventions

User feedback:
“I love the dedication that the professors and my adviser show me. There is an intimate feel, being it is such a small cohort, and the teachers are passionate about what they teach.”

Best for:
Secondary teachers in health, school psychologists, and administrators

14. Social-Emotional Learning (Whitworth University) →

Social Emotional Learning

Price: $675 per course

Duration 2-3 years

This program teaches the most cutting-edge strategies for SEL, allowing teachers to foster growth and change in their classrooms, schools, and communities. Learn techniques for social awareness, self-awareness, self-management, and relational skills to grow your students’ social and emotional competencies. The program is focused on teaching with compassion to help every child flourish. You’ll learn how to prevent traumas and other barriers from impeding student success inside and outside the classroom.

You will learn:

  • dealing with complex trauma and adverse childhood experiences
  • overcoming barriers impeding learning motivation
  • counseling theory
  • social and cultural considerations
  • social and emotional techniques for gifted children

User feedback:
“All of the staff and students I have interacted with have been kind, uplifting, and positive. The campus is very community-oriented and wants to make everyone from all walks of life feel like they belong.”

Best for:
School counselors, administrators, K-12 teachers

15. Certificate in Social and Emotional Learning and School Climate (Quinnipiac University) →

Certificate in Social and Emotional Learning and School Climate

Price: $705 per course

Duration 1 year

The premise of this program is that environment, not content, is the most important aspect of ensuring that a child is able to learn. The program addresses systematic issues in schools that impede the emotional and social development of its students, particularly, our world’s pervasive culture of bullying. Its unique focus on responsive practices, school equity, and diversity and inclusion aims to encompass the whole student. Classes take an interdisciplinary approach to provide the best possible information to learners.

You will learn:

  • basics of SEL
  • research on school climate
  • self-care best practices
  • SEL leadership
  • applying SEL to instruction

User feedback:
“I love Quinnipiac! I have grown so much since my first semester! I truly believe that the Academic Coaches and Learning Specialists want you to succeed and they will help you!”

Best for:
School counselors, administrators, K-12 teachers

A Final Note

Classroom management is an important topic for any teacher, and SEL training is one of the best ways to effectively manage a classroom if unique learners. Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making are topics that many adults still struggle with. Learn to teach these skills early and often to help your students become the best citizens of the world that they can be.

As educators, we are also lifelong learners; whether we’re learning new techniques for teaching students with special needs or techniques for using the latest technology, it is only by continuing to grow that we can do the best for our students.

Last Updated on May 20, 2021 by Emily

Emily/ author of the article

Emily is an active mother of two and a dedicated elementary school teacher. She believes the latest technology has made a huge impact on the quality of early learning and has worked hard to upgrade her classroom and her own children’s learning experience through technology.
She created this blog to make it easier for other teachers to take advantage of some of the best devices out there to upgrade their classrooms without having to do the research themselves. She loves to hear your tech-based problems and share her extensive experience :)

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