Image by Taelynn Christopher

Visual SEL: ​Image-Making Activities that Help Students Clarify and Commit to Their Values

For ADVISORS,  teachers, deans, counselors, psychologists, social workers, and administrators in middle school, high school, and higher education

Social-emotional learning (SEL) often involves discussion and sometimes writing, but what happens when students represent their thoughts, emotions, relationships, actions, and identities visually? Bring​ing​ images from our minds into the physical world ​helps us understand them more fully for ourselves and communicate them to others. ​When we create pictures to show an event, we can step back from labels and get closer to the ​event itself. ​Visuals can also help us focus on how we’ve experienced an event​ by depicting the thoughts and emotions it brings up. Finally, when we ​create visual images, we are the ones who ​created the​m, so we have agency over what the events in our lives will mean. In all of these ways, ​image-making strategies such as drawing, coloring, graphing, and photographing ​help us relate in new ways to the events in our lives so we can make values-based choices in how we proceed.

In this workshop, you will discover several ​visual SEL ​​​protocols that ​empower students to​ ​​bring their values to their actions. After learning the protocols by trying them ourselves, we will discuss how to use them with students to help clarify and commit to their values​ so they can live more satisfying lives in and beyond school. (3 hours)