The importance of social-emotional teaching (SET): Strengthening the wellbeing of student teachers in times of crisis

Tamar Ariav, Bracha Alpert, Oren Ergas, Linor L. Hadar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The wellbeing of students has become the ultimate goal of future education agendas as set by the OECD framework for education in 2030 (OECD 2018). The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need to deal intensively with students' Social- Emotional Learning (SEL) as a crucial condition for their active involvement in the learning process. However, it seems that the wellbeing of student teachers and practicing teachers received relatively little attention. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, attention to the wellbeing of teachers has been growing significantly and is now recognized as a key factor in the development of agility, successful instruction, ability to take care of students' wellbeing, and in minimizing teachers' attrition and dropout. In pre-service teacher education, however, this awareness is only beginning to emerge now. This chapter presents a new concept -- Social-Emotional Teaching (SET) -- to address the importance of wellbeing of teachers (prospective and practicing teachers). A main goal of SET is to strengthen resilience (the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties), agility (the ability to think, understand and move quickly and easily) and agency (the activity to produce purposeful results) in turbulent times. As teacher educators, we focus our interest on student teachers who need to be prepared to handle future unexpected traumas and catastrophes, such as pandemics, violent activities, and weather disasters. Yet, there is little research on how to build the foundational wellbeing in initial teacher education. Most of the attention focuses on practicing teachers within professional development contexts and support networks. Studying the body of research about teachers and the grassroots initiatives for practitioners can help us draw some insights and recommendations for pre-service education. Creating the basis for wellbeing in preservice education is a stepping-stone to enhance the wellbeing of practicing teachers. We open the chapter with a discussion of approaches to teachers' wellbeing that might serve as lenses to understand different perspectives for SET. Then we provide an initial definition and description of SET. What follows is a review of current research findings about teachers' wellbeing and selected grassroots initiatives, where we bring to the fore some efforts in policy and praxis to enhance the wellbeing of teachers from which we can derive recommendations for pre-service education. Next, we analyze the new frameworks for pre-service teacher education in Israel as one case, in which we examine the extent to which they include components for SET. Following this analysis, we suggest a tentative proposal for addressing SET in pre-service teacher education focusing on student teachers. In the conclusion, we advocate the importance of SET for the enhancement of student teachers' wellbeing, in general, and in times of crisis, in particular. We claim that the foundational preparation needs to take place already in pre-service teacher education. Since the wellbeing of students depends also on the wellbeing of their teachers, the SET concept needs to span from initial teacher education, to the life-long learning of practicing teachers. In our opinion, SET has become a crucial part of teaching in our chaotic times.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeacher Education
Subtitle of host publicationOpportunities, Challenges and Perspectives
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781685070298
ISBN (Print)9781685070113
StatePublished - 4 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.


  • Pre-service education
  • Social-Emotional Teaching (SET)
  • Teacher education
  • Teacher resilience
  • Teachers' wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)


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