Please Wait a Moment

Integrating Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in Dance Curriculum

A young boy in a gray sweatshirt with closed eyes presses his hands together above his head

Professor: Christopher Van Houten

Tuition: $310 member / $385 non-member

6 Weeks; 1.5 NDEO-Endorsed PDCs

With an emerging evidence base connecting dance to Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) outcomes, it’s important for dance teachers to understand and be able to articulate this connection. Additionally, any kind of dance teacher can strengthen their pedagogy and student outcomes with a more intentional and explicit focus on SEL. This course provides strategies for aligning dance curriculum to CASEL’s “Framework for Systemic Social and Emotional Learning.” CASEL stands for the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. Participants will learn about the CASEL framework and the research showing the strong connection between dance and SEL. The five broad SEL competency areas: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making. The course will wrap up with participants mapping out an action plan for how they can integrate explicit and intentional SEL approaches into their teaching.

Book required: None

Questions about this Course?  Email

Past Student Testimonials

"This course allowed me to dissect my curriculum as well as my teaching skills. It challenged me to look at things through a new lens and I have already started implementing new teaching tools and skills."

"There are not many courses out there which promote how to teach educators to foster a safe learning environment for students well-being. The scaffolding of learning the meanings of SEL, getting us to reflect on our own practice by giving examples and then giving/receiving feedback from other teachers globally was done really well, the feedback (even looking at others) really provoked some new ideas for me that I will try with my students."

"I really liked how reflective this course was. Every time we learned about something, we reflected on where it occurs (or doesn't occur) within our teaching practice. This facilitated so much growth for me and also helped our discussion boards to be vibrant and fruitful."

"This course helped me reflect on my teaching practices and develop a plan for ways I can better incorporate SEL into my curriculum."

"Taking the course enabled me to think about not only what I have been doing (and maybe not realizing its connection to SEL) but also what I can add to my teaching practice. I liked the opportunities to hear from other educators and gather ideas.""SEL was something I wasn't really knowledgeable about before taking this course. I now feel much more comfortable discussing SEL and finding ways to incorporate lessons into my class plans." 

"I learned so much from this course! I had no previous exposure to SEL so this course brought much to light. I really liked the discussion board feedback that we were required to do. It allowed us to see how our colleagues were thinking about and creating action points. We were able to receive great ideas, additional resources, and at times we saw a completely different approach. Very enlightening and encouraging."

"I was able to evaluate my teaching strategies and lesson planning so that I could be more intentional in incorporating the SEL competencies."

"I personally benefitted as a teacher by becoming more familiar with the CASEL framework. I liked how this course was organized."

"This course sparked many ideas for how I can better support my students' social and emotional learning. I really liked how the instructor set up the discussion boards. Instead of asking us to summarize what we had learned we were asked to evaluate our teaching, give specific examples and talk about what we wanted to improve on. This format allowed the students responding to the discussion board posts to learn new teaching technique ideas and support each other with new ideas for what we wanted to improve on... I enjoyed learning from my peers and giving back to them."

"This was my first look at the CASEL model and the relationship between SEL and Dance from this perspective. I now have a new lens through which to see my classes and my students and taking this course really inspired me to take a look at my classes and make some positive changes. I really liked the in person virtual meet ups as those helped me feel connected to my classmates and my professor.""This course allowed me to apply what I learned in the content of each module synchronously while teaching. It deepened my knowledge and provided me the opportunity to put new practices learned in place. I also like the discussion board component of each module to learn how other educators are embracing and using the content of each module."

"It made me reflect on my own practice and consider the ways in which I am already applying SEL in my teaching, while also considering areas for growth."

Professor Bio

Christopher Van Houten (They or He) studied and taught intersections of performance, pedagogy, community empowerment, embodiment, and social justice at Northwestern University. They served on the board of Dancing With Class, a Chicago-based organization that teaches young people social and emotional skills through social dance, as lead teaching artist for 15 years. They were the artistic director of the organization’s scholarship team that brought students together from different communities across Chicago through the joys of ballroom, Latin, and swing dance. They helped design SEL Journeys, an interactive classroom tool that integrates dance and social-emotional learning through culturally relevant content. They have also taught, performed, emceed, and traveled as a dance artist specializing in Brazilian zouk, West Coast swing, and hustle at major events across the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands. Their professional dance work has focused on genderfluid expression and connection in partner dancing. Their newest adventure is transitioning to the middle school social studies classroom, where they hope to integrate principles of ecosomatics and mindful movement to improve classroom climate and help adolescents find their place in an increasingly complex world. Christopher teaches OPDI-M20: Integrating Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in Dance Curriculum.

How Courses Work