According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the world's leading organization promoting integrated academic, social and emotional learning for all children in schools, social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to 5 key areas:
Self-Awareness: Developing healthy identities,
Self-Management: Managing emotions and achieve personal and collective goals,
Social Awareness: Feeling and show empathy for others,
Relationship Skills: Establishing and maintaining supportive relationships,
Responsible Decision-Making: Making responsible and caring decisions.
Why is SEL so important?
SEL helps children by promoting their health and well-being and contributing to the prevention of violence, truancy, bullying, and drug and alcohol abuse. In addition, SEL is associated with significant gains on academic achievement tests as well as decreased anxiety and behavior problems.
SEL and Community
According to CASEL, SEL is most beneficial when it is integrated throughout the school culture and includes collaboration with families and caregivers.
In July 2017, a meta-analysis based on a 2011 CASEL report was published in the journal, Child Development. The analysis reports that when schools implement SEL programs with fidelity, they may see a long-term positive impact in their school. Most notably:
- Benefits were similar regardless of students’ race, socioeconomic background, or school location
- Students’ academic performance 3.5 years later is higher by 13 percentile points compared to non-SEL peers
- More positive social behaviors, fewer conduct problems, and lower drug use
The overall findings from this review suggest there is tangible value in implementing SEL programming for students and their community.