What is SEL for your students?

Social emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. This includes everything from resilience to anger management and conflict resolution. SEL can be divided into five core competencies:

  1. Self-awareness

  2. Self-management

  3. Social awareness

  4. Relationship skills

  5. Responsible decision-making

Why SEL in the classroom?

To lead happy and productive lives, it is critical that people understand themselves and master a variety of other crucial skills, attitudes, and mind-sets. These include forming healthy relationships, collaborating effectively, managing stress and conflict, pursuing ethical solutions to problems, advocating for themselves and others, and empathizing with others. Research shows that these attitudes and skills can be explicitly taught, learned, and practiced.

Research shows that students are more successful in school and daily life when they

  • know and can manage themselves,

  • understand the perspectives of others and relate effectively with them, and

  • make sound choices about personal and social decisions (Weissberg et al., 2016).

If students are to cultivate these skills, attitudes, and mind-sets throughout their lives, then SEL must be part of every child's education.