What is SEL?

WHAT IS Social Emotional Learning (SEL)?

 Helping children to develop good social and emotional skills early in life makes a big difference in their long-term health and well-being. Studies have shown that children’s social and emotional functioning and behaviors can predict the state of their behavior and mental health later in life. In other words, if children learn to express emotions constructively and engage in caring and respectful relationships before and while they are in their lower elementary grades, they are more likely to avoid depression, violence, and other serious mental health problems as they grow older.

Schools and parents, working together, can play pivotal roles in supporting children’s healthy development in dealing with their emotions and in their relationships with others. This is referred to as social and emotional learning (SEL) because these are indeed skills that can be learned and mastered, every bit as much as language or mathematics or reading can be. There is a great deal of research evidence to indicate that students perform better when academics are combined with SEL.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), an organization that focuses on the use of SEL as an essential part of education, speaks about five basic sets of skills that can be cultivated both at home and at school.
  • Self-Awareness: Identifying one’s thoughts, feelings, and strengths, and recognizing how they influence one’s choices and actions.
  • Social Awareness: Identifying and understanding the thoughts and feelings of others, respecting their rights, and appreciating diversity.
  • Self-Management: Establishing and working toward short- and long-term goals, and handling emotions so that they facilitate rather than interfere with the task at hand.
  • Responsible Decision Making: Generating, implementing, and evaluating positive and informed solutions to problems, and assuming responsibility for personal decisions and behaviors.
  • Relationship Skills: Communication, listening, and negotiation skills to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding connections with individuals and groups.