Critical and creative thinking (executive functioning)
Executive functioning skills such as planning, task focus, creative problem-solving and time management help students get organized. These skills increase students’ success with academic tasks and can also help them manage other complex challenges in their lives. You can model and teach these skills, and create opportunities for students to learn and practise the skills individually and together with their peers.
Healthy relationship skills
Healthy relationships are at the core of developing and maintaining mentally healthy, equitable and caring learning environments. You can help students learn to understand and appreciate diverse perspectives and identities, to empathize with others, to listen, and to resolve conflict respectfully. Focusing on healthy relationship skills can benefit class culture and students’ sense of belonging.
Identification and management of emotions
Students express emotion in a variety of ways based on their personal, social, and cultural lived experiences. Together with students, you can learn how thoughts, emotions, and actions are related. You can explore how to identify emotions, different ways to manage and express feelings, and model and practise responding to others with compassion while honouring social and cultural identities.
Positive motivation and perseverance
Positive motivation and perseverance skills can help students approach challenges in life with an optimistic mindset and remain hopeful even when their circumstances are difficult. Explore and practise strategies that build on students’ strengths. Be careful not to present these skills as the solution to oppression and other systemic issues. Instead, talk about the role of motivation and perseverance in advocacy and collective action to remove barriers within the classroom, school and system.
Self-awareness and sense of identity
Exploring self-awareness and sense of identity is a chance for courageous and supportive conversations about strengths, difficulties, preferences, values, lived experiences, ambitions and more. You can create a safe environment where you co-learn with students, affirm cultural heritages and where students practise advocating for their needs. Having a sense of who they are, in the context of culture and community, may help students see how they matter and can contribute to the world around them.
Stress management and coping
Students face a range of challenges that are relative to their personal, social, and cultural lived experience. They also have existing ways of coping. Through instruction and modelling, you can help students practise new and bolster existing coping strategies. Be sure to consider sources of stress and examine and address structures that reinforce inequitable conditions that add stress to individuals and entire communities.