Thinking Deeply: Social Emotional Learning’s Link To Wellbeing, Mental Health In Students

Meet the Makers

Thom Markham, Senior Global Advisor

Hi everyone. Most of you know me as an iLEAD PBL Coach, but I also maintain a broad PBL practice with schools in Australia, China, and Europe. That’s given me the opportunity to see how educators in other countries approach social emotional learning (SEL). Surprisingly, most countries don’t use the term SEL. Instead, they focus on well-being. I’ve found that’s a great way to approach young people in these challenging, disruptive times. And fortunately, PBL offers a great way to incorporate well-being into projects in the classroom by giving learners opportunities to practice the habits that lead to thriving, not just surviving. I look forward to sharing this with you and always welcome any feedback or conversations.

This Week’s Focus

Driving Question

How can I incorporate activities that promote learner wellbeing into my projects?

A key pillar of iLEAD philosophy is learner wellness and happiness. But thinking solely in terms of social emotional learning isn’t always the answer for this. Rather than thinking about “teaching” SEL skills, why not plan projects that set up the conditions and activities that lead to growth through reflection, connection, and healthy habits (both emotionally and physically)? These include — but are not limited to — things such as understanding feelings, relaxation skills, observing your own thoughts, managing intense emotions, and mindfulness. We all can incorporate one or more of these approaches into our Project Designs. Ultimately, we should be encouraging learners to be proactive in managing their own well-being.


There is a science of well-being which outlines the basic practices that help young learners (or adults as well) to feel more confident, connected and resilient. Please watch this video for an overview.


If you’re looking to dig deeper into well-being and adolescent mental health, here’s a great Resource From Stanford University.

More Magic

If you’re looking for videos and other resources to use with learners, check out this site below. There are videos made for teens on all the primary aspects of well-being.

Child Mind Institute

Being Makers

Being Makers

Being Makers is a team of change-making leaders from Maker Learning Network and iLEAD Schools focused on project-based learning and social-emotional growth.
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