Caring Learning

This module offers suggestions about ways that teachers can use strategies and set learning tasks that enhance students’ social and emotional competencies.

Focus questions
  1. Did the “Caring learning” data suggest any next steps for your school?
  2. Do you have other school data about this area of school practice? What does this tell you?

Key ideas about building students’ social competence and pro-social skills (for ALL students through the classroom programme)
Effective educators focus on students’ holistic wellbeing (such as social outcomes) as well as achievement. An explicit focus on, and teaching of, social and emotional competencies can result in a range of improved outcomes for students. Approaches that aim to build students’ social and emotional competencies are best targeted at ALL students (not selected groups). These competencies can be fostered through classroom programmes and are supported by school-wide planning and actions.

See the School-wide climate and practices: Caring school module for ways of working across a school.

Reflective question(s)
  1. How do we support students to learn skills in social problem-solving?
  2. Do we give students opportunities to develop and practise these skills within classroom programme?


In the classroom, ways of working could include:

  • Explicit teaching and reinforcement of developmentally-appropriate prosocial behaviours (e.g., caring, sharing, helping, and understanding others’ feelings) and social and emotional strategies (e.g., emotional regulation or strategies that build resilience) in ways that enhance students’ ability to maintain healthy relationships. **
  • Reviewing curriculum planning and student goal setting processes to ensure the classroom programme enables students to build the key competencies.
  • Reviewing Health and PE learning or integrated topics to ensure students have opportunities to explore themes relating to mental health and social wellbeing and safety.
  • Integrating programmes such as FRIENDS for Life or Skills for Adolescence into the curriculum to support students to build social and emotional competencies.
  • Exploring culturally-responsive teaching practices such as co-construction and collaborative learning (e.g., as suggested in Te Kotahitanga).
  • Using literature and visual resources/DVDs, about topics such as wellbeing or interpersonal conflict, in ways that prompt discussion and the development of social and emotional strategies.
  • Using interactive teaching strategies such as role plays that enable students to develop and practice effective skills in relating to others.


**denotes PB4L-School-wide core practice. Core practices are more effective if they are implemented together.