SEL is defined as “how children and adults learn to understand and manage emotions, set goals, show empathy for others, establish positive relationships, and make responsible decisions."
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) framework identifies five core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
As more attention is paid to "educating the whole child," SEL practices have been embedded in a growing number of classrooms across the country. Educators are aware that these skills play a critical role in determining how well-equipped children will be to meet the demands of the classroom.
The research is clear that SEL is key to successful student performance, especially in preschool and elementary school.
For example: Lindsey Jensen, however, is frustrated by what she sees as a main focus on academics. Over the past month, Jensen, a high school teacher in Chicago has participated in countless zoom meetings with colleagues and school leaders. The topic of emotional and trauma support for students has barely registered. SEL needs to be a more prominent focus in our school systems. These skills will prepare our children for the world and everyday life.
There are simple ways to integrate Social and Emotional Learning into your classroom and school. It's important to note that each student has different needs and considerations when it comes to SEL and academics, so they might not need a 'one size fits all' curriculum. Integrating SEL into academics is a guaranteed way to do both things at once, saving you time and money. Below are tactics from the Aspen Institute's National Commission on Social Emotional, and Academic Development. [From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope] & Berkeley.
1. Build Adult Expertise: The more SEL skills your teachers and staff have, the better the students will learn from them.
2. Transform learning settings so they are safe and supportive for all young people.
3. Embed these skills in academics and schoolwide practices.
School is finally in session from a long year of virtual learning. Students may have gotten comfortable with not interacting with other students and their peers, so in case of conflict in your classroom, we'd like to equip our teachers with social and emotional learning resources. No matter what the dispute is over, educators should know that conflict is not abnormal inside or outside the classroom.
Helping students resolve conflicts with their peers is an important asset to the classroom atmosphere. Teachers shouldn't solve the problem for the students, but should rather resolve allow students to resolve their own problems to prevent lateral damage to their conflict-resolution and problem-solving skills.
Developing these skills in children as early as possible is vital to their interpersonal success.
As quoted from, Carolyn Coffey, a preschool teacher at Educare New Orleans,
“We’re teaching them the right way to respond to conflicts, to use self-control and calm themselves,” she says. “If we wait until they get to fourth grade or even middle school, they’ve already learned in practice what they’re going to do in order to resolve something… and it might not be the best way.”
To learn more about how conflict should be handled in the classroom, visit a few of our resources below.
Teach Kids How to Manage Conflict
Easing Kids into the Classroom
Schools that put SEL as part of their day to day curriculum are not only helping the children to thrive academically, but they are developing future employees to soar with soft skills. When students graduate and enter into the workforce, they can expect greater benefits, more opportunity, and higher wages.
While SEL initiatives are helping to build a brighter future within the workplace, they are first providing a massive return on their school investments. Studies show that for every $1 spent on high value SEL initiatives, there is an $11 return on investment.
Here's what SEL has been proven to do:
SEL in the classroom
Benefits of SEL
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