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FACT: Social-emotional learning positively affects student performance.

In this workshop series, educators will have the opportunity to engage in social-emotional learning (SEL) pedagogy in action through NYC Outward Bound Schools’ approach to teaching and learning. Using team building initiatives and Outward Bound common practices, including framing & debriefing, peer critiquing, self-reflection, and rotating leadership, educators will

  • Explore SEL competencies through hands-on team-based activities
  • Practice facilitating SEL-related team building activities
  • Engage with SEL competencies through two of CASEL’s four approaches: explicit SEL skills instruction and teacher instructional practices
  • Learn and conduct SEL-skill-building lessons that can be utilized in the classroom

Participants will be immersed in instructional practices that promote SEL, including

  • sequencing SEL-based activities based on student learning
  • guiding students in assessing their own needs and learning styles to enhance self-awareness
  • planning lessons and curricula that teach students about social-emotional intelligence
  • engaging students in self-reflection
  • Using framing and debriefing techniques aligned with SEL competencies

Our staff will create a unique learning environment where educators will have a chance to critique each other’s facilitation and learn from one another.



9am: Introductions

9:30am: SEL Immersion Activity

10:30am: Workshop: Experiential Learning Cycle; Learning through Experience; Learning Styles; Sequencing; General Guidelines for Facilitation

12pm: Lunch

1pm: Workshop: Communication & Collaboration that focusses on Listening, Non-Verbal Communication, Feedback using The Plus/Delta Model

3pm: Peer Critiquing

4pm: Workshop: Six Methods of Framing & Debriefing

4:45pm: Reflection


9am: Immersion Activity

10:30am: Workshop: Transference and the Use of a Metaphor

11:30am: Peer Critiquing

12pm: Lunch

1pm: Peer Critiquing

2pm: Workshop: Building an SEL Team

3pm: Peer Critiquing

4pm: Final Team Debrief

5pm: Closing Circle and Departure


About Experiential Activities

This program utilizes experiential activities, during which learning is an active and reflective process. Most of the activities are framed as metaphors for real issues facing students. With thoughtful facilitation, these dynamic activity experiences draw participants to use social, cognitive, emotional, and physical abilities to achieve set goals. The sequencing of activities enables participants to learn about each other and build a sense of community prior to being challenged in problem-solving or trust-building activities.


Sample Community Building Activities

Commonalities: This activity will help discover commonalities with other participants/students. In pairs, participants try to generate a list of things that are common to both of them but which you could not identify by looking at them.

Categories: This activity will find more in common with our peers. For example, the facilitator may ask everyone to organize themselves into smaller groups based on favorite ice cream flavor, eye color, favorite sport, etc., based on a broader category to which they belong.

Sample Trust Building Activities

Look Up, Look Down: This activity helps develop quick partnership through mutual eye contact. Participants form a circle and  all agree to look at one person every round.

Paired Trust Walk: This activity helps participants lead each other blindfolded through the classroom halls, and/or outdoors.

Sample Goal Setting Activities

Kaizen: The Art of Continual Improvement: Participants identify small changes within their team or organization that can create big changes through communication and commitment to these changes.

Moonball: This activity requires group to keep a beach ball aloft for the highest number of consecutive hits. Participants will have an opportunity to improve their score while performing a simple task multiple times.

Sample Communication Activities

Communication Breakdown: The group has to work together as a team to place their mystery object into the appropriate hula hoop with significant limitations to each person’s role.

Emotion Charades: Participants/students will act out a feeling and other participants must guess the representation.

Lego Statue: The objective of this activity to make an exact replica of an existing Lego statue.

Sample Problem Solving Activities (Individual Contributions to Group Success)

Turnstile: The objective of this activity is for the group to figure out how to get everyone through the turning rope.

Pass The Knot: This activity helps participants reflect on behaviors that helped/hurt the group,in order to solve the problem.

Thumb Wrestling (Competition vs. Cooperation): Participants try to score as many points as possible in a one-minute round.

Toxic Waste (Efficiency and Effectiveness): Groups work together to transport a can of toxic waste out of the Radiation Zone and empty it into the neutralization bucket.

Sample Healthy Relationships Activity

Blind Shape: Groups make a variety of shapes using rope while blindfolded.

Balloon Frantic: Groups have to keep everybody’s balloons aloft in the air.

Sample Leadership Activities

Don’t Break the Ice: The whole group stands on imaginary “ice” and negotiates passage as pieces melt away.

Pitfall: In this activity, participants will have to verbally guide a blindfolded partner through the “pitfall” course.

Team Challenge Events

During team challenge events, teams are given a resource guide with some basic supplies in preparation for each experiential activity/challenge. Teams must strategize to find solutions for completing team challenges, helping them practice and enact problem-solving, innovation, shared leadership, communication skills, team planning, and time management. Action-oriented by design, team challenge events can be customized to specific program goals.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has shown that the inclusion of social and emotional development programs positively affects the academic achievement of students.


After teachers implement tools and strategies from this training, students should be able to:

  • I can integrate NYC Outward Bound Schools practices that create a supportive, engaging, and participatory learning environment.
  • I have tools and strategies to enhance the capacities of students to manage emotion, cognition, and behavior effectively and ethically handle developmental tasks.
  • I will be able to develop and inspire students to have greater attachment to the classroom and school community and develop a sense of respect for the members of the community.


After teachers implement tools and strategies from this training, students should be able to:

  • Express themselves in respectful and appropriate ways
  • Demonstrate positive attitudes toward themselves and others
  • Set personal and group goals
  • Give and receive constructive feedback
  • Use problem-solving and conflict resolution strategies
  • Become aware of their personal strengths and qualities
  • Develop a sense of classroom community, trust, and support
  • Explain how individual group members’ efforts contribute to group performance


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Pricing is negotiable based on school resources and program definition. 

2-Day training* for 20 educators: $9,000

Pricing includes Course Director, who oversees all planning and implementation, instructional staff, and all activity equipment, as well as facility fees (if applicable), lunch, and snacks. (Transportation to NYC Outward Bound Schools program location & back is NOT included)

*or the equivalent


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