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About Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

SEL or Social Emotional Learning is a methodology that focuses on helping students of all ages develop self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills which are vital for school, work, and life success.

SEL work sets kids (and adults) up for success by equipping them with the skills to recognize and manage their emotions, understand and communicate with others, build healthy relationships, and foster empathy. When students are emotionally regulated, they are better able to learn, set and achieve positive goals, and make responsible decisions.

The SEL Framework

The framework of social and emotional learning consists of five core competencies, or areas of focus.

  1. Self Awareness – The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.
  2. Self Management – The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.
  3. Social Awareness – The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
  4. Relationship Skills – The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating with others, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.
  5. Responsible Decision Making – The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety cockers, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.

So what?

Social and emotional learning has many short and long-term benefits for individuals and society as a whole, including a sharp decrease in the school-to-prison pipeline. Research indicates some of the benefits of SEL instruction below:

  • Better Academic Performance – students who received SEL instruction achieved an average of 11 percentile points higher than students who did not 
  • Improved Attitudes and behaviors – greater motivation to learn, deeper commitment to school, increased time devoted to schoolwork, and better classroom behavior
  • Reduction in Negative Behaviors – decreased disruptive class behavior, noncompliance, aggression, delinquent acts, and disciplinary referrals
  • Increased Emotional Stability – students have experienced “fewer reports of depression, anxiety, stress, and social withdrawal.”

As SEL instruction becomes commonplace within our education systems, the lives of our students will be improved, our education system refined, and our communities strengthened.


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