The idea that social and emotional learning is a crucial part of education isn’t a new one. SEL has been an integral part of curriculum in lower elementary grades for decades, but typically loses classtime in favor of academic instruction as students get older. Looking for a primer on what SEL is? Look no further.
SEL consists of five main components that most experts agree upon:
Self-awareness, or students’ ability to identify their thoughts and feelings, their causes and express them
Self-management, or students’ ability to respond appropriately in different situations
Social awareness, or students’ understanding of other people’s thoughts and feelings
Relationship skills, or how students communicate with others and modify their interactions based on the wants and needs of others
Decision making, or how students weigh the pros and cons of actions and solve problems responsibly
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning has compiled several research studies that show that students exposed to intentional SEL curriculum throughout their education outperform their peers when it comes to positive social behavior, empathy and teamwork skills, and academic achievement, and they are less likely to use drugs and experience emotional distress.
CASEL recommends that principals wanting to ensure their schools are using effective SEL programming include the following:
Instruction in and opportunities to practice and apply an integrated set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills.
Learning environments characterized by trust and respectful relationships.
Coordinated implementation that reinforces classroom, schoolwide, out-of-school, and at-home learning activities.
Systematic and sequential programming from preschool through high school.
Developmentally and culturally appropriate behavioral supports.
Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of implementation for continuous improvement.
They also have a large number of resources to help you plan and implement a SEL curriculum at your school.
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