Anyone with an interest in education should be aware of how to promote social/emotional learning in schools. Social/emotional learning (SEL) is a concept that focuses on teaching students the skills needed to relate well to others, manage their own emotions and make healthy decisions. SEL has become a formal protocol being adopted by schools across the nation to improve students’ overall success in life. Read on to learn more about this concept.
About Social/Emotional Learning
Social/emotional learning is defined by The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as, “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions.” This process can help improve the lives of students in a number of ways.
Studies have shown that SEL can improve high school graduation rates, along with postsecondary enrollment and completion. It has also been connected to higher employment rates and wages. SEL improves classroom behavior, lessens mental health issues and decreases participation in criminal behavior.
Components of SEL
The components of social/emotional learning are the fundamentals of the program. They’re what SEL curricula are built upon. Students are expected to develop certain skills and competencies through their exposure to SEL.
They learn self-awareness, including an understanding of their feelings, strengths and limitations. They also develop better self-management by discovering ways to regulate their own emotions, motivate themselves and handle stress. Social awareness teaches students to show empathy and consider the perspective of others. SEL emphasizes relationship skills like improved listening, working together, conflict resolution and leadership skills. Finally, a strong social/emotional learning program will teach students about responsible decisions making so that they can make ethical choices and develop solutions based on the information at hand.
How to Promote Social/Emotional Learning in Schools
There are countless ways teachers and administrators can promote social/emotional learning in schools. Let’s look at just a few examples. School officials can model strong emotional competence, as well as admit when they are wrong, apologize and actively ask for help when needed. Constant communication and encouragement to share is crucial to a strong SEL program. Encouraging students to talk about difficult topics and to be vulnerable sets a precedent that will encourage open communication in the future.
Group activities encourage students to work together and to form stronger relationships. They have the chance to practice effective communication, collaboration and conflict resolution, along with problem solving skills. Mindfulness is a key component of any SEL program. Teaching students to relax and to be in the moment with activities like journaling, meditating and guided imagery help students to learn stress management and introspection. Social and emotional learning can be incorporated into the academic curriculum in a number of ways. Take time to flesh out literary characters, to explore their motivations and to talk about their feelings. This gives students insight into emotional intelligence.
SEL offers a wealth of benefits for students. Understanding how to promote social/emotional learning in schools is essential to growing this popular movement and improving the future of education.