With the rise of digital technology and social media—along with a renewed focus on mental health, behavioral outcomes, and classroom climate—social-emotional learning (SEL) is in the spotlight for K–12 educators.
But what is social-emotional learning, and why is SEL important for schools in the 21st century to address?
Social-Emotional Learning Definition
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.
There are five social-emotional learning competencies, according to CASEL.
- Self-awareness: Recognizing one's own emotions and their effect on behavior.
- Self-management: Regulating one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors; managing stress, setting goals, and staying motivated.
- Responsible decision-making: Making constructive decisions in social situations based on ethics, safety, and social norms.
- Relationship skills: Developing positive relationships with diverse groups and individuals; communicating clearly and cooperating with others.
- Social awareness: Empathizing and understanding the views of others, including those of other cultures or backgrounds.
What Is the Importance of Social-Emotional Learning in Schools?
“Children are coming to school with increasing social and emotional issues,” said Dr. Bill Daggett, founder of the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE), during a recent keynote address at the 2019 Model Schools Conference. “The high-performing schools have said, ‘Time out. Let’s spend our time thinking deeply about these kids in 2019 and how we have to change our teaching methodology and strategies to keep up with this younger generation.’”
You can watch the video below to learn about Dr. Daggett’s thoughts on SEL in schools below.