Social and Emotional Learning

What is Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)?

Social and emotional learning is a process through which people acquire knowledge and skills that enable them to actively engage in five main competencies that facilitate positive attitudes and behavior, prevent problematic behavior and ultimately promote success. Social and emotional learning is a process often used to help children develop these competencies, but also acts as an effective tool for adults.

The five main competencies of social and emotional learning are:

Self Awareness: Who am I?

Social Awareness: How I fit into my world.

Self Management: What are my goals?

Responsible Decision Making: My decisions affect my goals.

Effective Communication: How I connect with the world.

Why is SEL Important?

Social and emotional development results in positive effects on children, as well as adults of all ages. It provides skills that endorse success in multiple areas including academia, general welfare and achieving personal goals.

A meta-analysis of 213 evaluation studies of SEL in schools (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor & Schellinger, 2011) showed that students receiving quality SEL programming, versus those who do not, would:

•Score an average of 11 percentile points higher on standardized tests;

•Show improved self-esteem and commitment to school;

•Engage in less classroom disruption and delinquent acts; and

•Experience less depression and anxiety

The strength in SEL as a method of learning is compounded when considering its positive correlation with school commitment and completion, which is a realistic predictor of lifetime earnings. Research has found that possession of social and emotional life skills not only benefit children directly, through the development of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, but also indirectly, by increasing the likelihood they will complete school.

These skills also transfer beyond school. In the workplace, communication skills, problem solving abilities and professionalism are all highly valued. Additionally, people with strong social and emotional skills are more able to contribute to thriving neighborhoods and strong communities.

*Research from CASEL. Read more at http://casel.org/why-it-matters/what-is-sel/

Read More on Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor & Schellinger, 2011

Download the report

Social and Emotional Learning in Illinois

Illinois is the one state that currently has free-standing, comprehensive standards at the K-12 level.

Download Social and Emotional Learning for Illinois Students: Policy, Practice and Progress

Social and Emotional Learning in Federal Legislation

On May 8, 2013, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan introduced bipartisan legislation to support students’ positive development and academic success through social and emotional learning. The Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act of 2013 (H.R. 1875) will expand the availability of evidence-based programs that teach students social and emotional skills such as self-control, goal-setting, collaboration, conflict resolution, and problem solving. More than two decades of scientific research has shown these skills to improve academic achievements and promote positive school climate.

Read the Press Release on H.R. 1875