Social-Emotional Learning: Why It Matters and How to Foster It

Social-Emotional Learning: Why It Matters and How to Foster It

We know that social-emotional learning (SEL) empowers students with abilities that directly impact not only their academic lives, but their success and happiness as adults. Figuring out how and when to teach and assess SEL skills, however, can be daunting to even the most seasoned educator. So we’ve created this guide to social-emotional learning, packing it full of questions to consider and techniques to try.

You’ll learn why investment in SEL is crucial, explore how to nurture a positive school culture, and gain insight on new approaches to SEL assessment. Looking for innovative ways to teach social-emotional learning skills in your classroom? How about by using AR and VR, or weaving SEL into everyday literacy instruction.

Like all learning, SEL must address issues of equity. We highlight efforts to better support LGBTQ students, involve educate parents and caregivers, and share PD experiences that helps teachers develop their own SEL competencies. Coming soon: how SEL can help students who’ve experienced trauma.

Please check back soon for more articles on integrating SEL into academics and the role of parent engagement.

-Mary Hossfeld, Guide Editor

Where School Climate and Social-Emotional Development Intersect

This illustration highlights the relationship between school climate and social and emotional competence.

A model of the overlap between conditions for learning and social and emotional competencies with illustrative components
Source: The Intersection of School Climate and Social and Emotional Development, 2018, American Institute for Research.

Core SEL Competencies

Social-emotional learning is often broken up into five core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making.

Source: CASEL

Teachers Views on SEL

Many teachers feel their schools put too little emphasis on developing the life skills of students, which includes social and emotional skills.

Too Little Emphasis on SEL

Teachers at high poverty schools are even more supportive of SEL than the average.

Teachers at High Poverty Schools Support SEL
Source: The Missing Piece: A National Teacher Survey on How Social and Emotional Learning Can Empower Children and Transform Schools, 2016, CASEL.

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