Education today focuses on knowledge-based learning. But students also need the skills to develop socially and emotionally.

This is the work of Social and Emotional Learning—or SEL for short. SEL focuses on developing skill sets that are found in mature, responsible students. When children can identify and manage their thoughts and emotions, they are better prepared to learn and grow, in the classroom . . . and beyond.

Benefits of SEL

A strong focus on SEL across the school can help develop students who:

  • Are more attentive in class
  • Are able to control their emotions
  • Work well with their classmates
  • Resolve conflicts amicably
  • Show empathy and understanding
  • Become better problem solvers

Social and Emotional Learning can also help mitigate the following issues in schools:

  • Truancy issues
  • Graduation rates
  • Disciplinary issues
  • Classroom Management
  • Bullying
  • School violence

This results in huge benefits to the school including greater academic achievement: as student attendance rises, the teacher spends less time on classroom management, and the students are better equipped to learn.

Core SEL Competencies

The most accepted taxonomy for Social and Emotional Learning is advocated by the non-profit organization CASEL (Collaboration for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning).

These five basic SEL skills and their sub-skills are as follows:

Self Awareness

  • Identifying emotions
  • Accurate self-perception
  • Recognizing strengths
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-efficacy

Relationship Skills

  • Communication
  • Social engagement
  • Relationship-building
  • Teamwork

Self Management

  • Stress management
  • Self-discipline
  • Self-motivation
  • Goal-setting
  • Organizational skills

Responsible Decision-Making

  • Identifying problems
  • Analyzing situations
  • Solving problems
  • Evaluating
  • Reflecting
  • Ethical responsibility

Social Awareness

  • Appreciating Diversity
  • Empathy
  • Perspective Taking
  • Respect for Others

Quaver “SEL Plus” Competencies

  • Academic Achievements
  • Bullying
  • Personal Safety
  • Honesty
  • Anxiety
  • Disappointment
  • Moods

Growing Trend Towards SEL in Schools

The Every Student Succeeds Act promotes the development of the whole child.  This means that schools are responsible for more than academic proficiency. Schools must also provide students with the soft skills needed to be successful in life.  As a result, states across the country are instituting SEL standards at more and more grade levels, starting in Pre-K.