In a world where education constantly evolves, hacking social-emotional learning by exploring innovative, multi-disciplinary approach to education catering to students’ diverse needs is essential. Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Jeffrey Benson, a seasoned educator, author, and advocate for creating inclusive and supportive learning environments. In our conversation, Benson shared his wisdom on empowering students, fostering interdisciplinary teams, and the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) in today’s classrooms. Here is his latest book, Hacking School Discipline Together.

Empowering Students Through Focus and Understanding

Mr. Benson emphasizes understanding students’ needs and creating a classroom environment encouraging engagement and productivity. Cheri discusses her method, “Focus Triggers,” which is designed to help teachers improve classroom dynamics by addressing the specific needs of each student. By acknowledging students’ unique challenges, educators can tailor their teaching methods to foster a more inclusive and effective learning environment.

Focus Triggers
Focus Triggers – Find out more in my course: Tier 1 Interventions Workshops

The Role of Interdisciplinary Teams in Education

One of Jeffrey Benson’s passions is creating interdisciplinary teams within schools to support students’ writing skills. He believes that collaboration among different subject teachers can provide a more holistic approach to education, ensuring that students receive consistent support across all areas of learning. This collaborative effort can bridge gaps in education and provide students with a well-rounded educational experience.

The Importance of Social-Emotional Learning

Benson also highlights the critical role of social-emotional learning (SEL) in modern education. He argues that SEL should be integrated across the entire education system, not just treated as a buzzword. Educators can create a more empathetic and self-aware generation by teaching students to advocate for themselves and understand their emotions. Benson’s approach to SEL involves making it explicit in lesson plans and encouraging students to participate actively in their learning.


Jeffrey Benson’s insights into education testify to the power of innovative thinking and compassion in teaching. Educators can create a more inclusive and effective learning environment by focusing on students’ individual needs, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, and prioritizing social-emotional learning. As we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of education, it’s clear that approaches like Benson’s will be instrumental in shaping the future of learning.

Call to Action

Are you an educator looking to implement these innovative strategies in your classroom? Please sharee your thoughts and experiences in the comments below, and let’s continue the conversation on creating more supportive and inclusive educational environments for all students.

ASCD Community Panel


Jeffrey Benson has over forty years of experience as a teacher, mentor, and school administrator. His passion is supporting schools to be more successful with more students. He is an internationally known author, including the books “Hanging In– Strategies for Working with the Students Who Challenge Us Most;” “Ten Steps for Managing Change in Schools;” “Teaching the Whole Teen: Everyday Practices that Promote Success and Resilience in School and Life;” “Improve Every Lesson Plan with SEL;” and his newest book, “Hacking School Discipline Together.” Jeffrey leads school change initiatives, facilitating interdisciplinary teams that convert long-standing dilemmas into cutting-edge growth and community building and creating more inclusive school and classroom cultures. He is a member of the ASCD faculty, is frequently published in education journals, and speaks at conferences on working with challenging students, integrating SEL into everyday practices, restorative practices, decision-making skills for leaders, and the science of learning and teaching. His website is

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