What Is Social-Emotional Learning?Pardon us if we're sharing something you already know (feel free to skip right to the social emotional learning activities!), but if you're new to incorporating SEL into your classroom, you may need a quick refresher! The most common social-emotional learning — or social and emotional learning — definition describes SEL as "the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions." It's a bit of a mouthful, but essentially social and emotional learning covers five core competencies:
- Social Awareness
- Relationship Skills
- Responsible Decision Making
Why Is Social-Emotional Learning Important?Not sure you have time to fit all of this in alongside the state standards that you're preparing students to meet? A solid social and emotional learning curriculum will help students with everything from managing emotions and developing coping skills to setting positive goals, engaging in positive relationships, and solving problems effectively. The importance of SEL is hard to overstate, but here are a few core benefits:
- Promote mental health and well-being: Teaching social and emotional lessons in the classroom can help students develop the skills they need to manage their emotions, build positive relationships, and cope with stress and challenges.
- Improve academic performance: Students who have strong social and emotional skills are more likely to be engaged in learning and perform better academically.
- Create a positive classroom culture: Teaching social and emotional lessons can help create a positive classroom culture where students feel safe, respected, and supported.
- Prepare students for life after school: Social and emotional skills are essential for success in life beyond the classroom. Teaching these skills helps students to be better equipped to handle the challenges they will face in the future.
- Address specific social and emotional needs: Teaching social and emotional lessons can help to address the specific needs of students, such as building self-esteem, managing emotions, and developing empathy for others. This can help to create a more inclusive and equitable classroom, where all students feel respected and valued.