What is Social and Emotional Learning?
SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to recognize and manage their emotions, demonstrate caring and concern for others, establish positive relationships, make responsible decisions and handle challenging situations constructively. SEL is fundamental not only to children’s social and emotional development but also to their health, ethical development, citizenship, motivation to achieve, and academic learning as well. (Elias et al., 1997, and CASEL, Safe and Sound, 2005)
What Skills Do Socially and Emotionally Competent Children and Youth Have?
• They are self-aware.
• They are able to regulate their emotions.
• They are socially aware.
• They have good relationship skills.
• They demonstrate responsible decision-making at school, at home, and in the community.
What Empirical Evidence Supports the Effectiveness of SEL Programming?
Joe Durlak of Loyola University (Chicago) and Roger Weissberg of the University of Illinois at Chicago have recently completed a research synthesis of 300 studies of SEL programs. The research clearly demonstrates that SEL programming significantly improves children’s academic performance on standardized tests, Moreover, compared to control groups, children who have participated in SEL programs have significantly better school attendance records, less disruptive classroom behavior, like school more and perform better in school. (CASEL, Safe and Sound, 2005)
“Teachers enter the profession to provide a well-rounded education and support the whole student, which includes social and emotional skills development. SEL is a critical part of every child’s growth, both as students and as contributing members of society. Teachers have shared with us how important this is — now it’s up to all of us to support them in this essential work.”
-Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers