Infographic: The Importance of Social-Emotional Learning in Schools

Have you taken steps to integrate social-emotional learning into your school or classroom? If you haven't, data shows you may want to consider doing so.

We dove into data from the 5th Annual Educator Confidence Report—published by HMH in collaboration with YouGov—as well as other studies and meta-analyses, and broke down the importance of social-emotional learning in schools below.

To start, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines social-emotional learning as:

The process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Why Is SEL Important?

In the Educator Confidence Report, nearly all of the teachers and administrators surveyed said they felt it's essential to address the social and emotional needs of students. This makes sense in an era where digital technology and social media are prevalent. Building strong relationships is a key component of SEL, but these advancements in digital technology make doing so more complicated when students are always behind their screens.

This is all happening alongside a renewed focus on mental health, behavioral outcomes, and classroom climate in K–12 education. Based on the data below, however, a small portion of educators feel their school has a truly effective SEL strategy in place.

What do teachers and education leaders hope to accomplish by incorporating SEL into their curricula? In the Educator Confidence Report, more than 1,300 educators, including about 1,100 teachers and 200 administrators, answered that very question. To build these skills among their students, many teachers prioritize establishing strong connections with students, having students work in groups, arranging their classrooms in ways that facilitate interactions, and encouraging a general culture of community.

Integrating SEL into your school or classroom can, according to studies, have positive short- and long-term effects on students. These range from improved academic achievement and classroom behavior to fewer psychological or behavioral issues in the future and overall improved lifetime outcomes as adults. Take a closer look at the far-ranging consequences of prioritizing SEL at an early age.

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