The Importance of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

The Importance of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)


Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) 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.” It’s a well-known fact that emotional health is nearly as important as physical health and social learning is nearly as important as academic learning in terms of a student’s overall wellbeing. Here are some key factors about the importance of social-emotional learning and the effect it has on students.

Improves Academic Achievement

A study published in 2011 showed that students who engaged in SEL showed an increase in academic achievement of 11%. Students who participate in social-emotional learning are more likely to be confident in themselves, committed to their responsibilities, and more positive in attitude, all of which can promote improvement in academic achievement.

Improves Social Behaviors

All teachers and parents want their children to acquire positive social characteristics, such as kindness, empathy, sharing, and more. When students are encouraged to think about their own emotions and then shift to the mindset that other people may have similar feelings, they are able to improve upon their understanding of others, consequently improving their social behaviors and interactions.

Improves Mental Health

Those who participate in SEL are less likely to have struggles with anxiety, stress, and depression. It almost promotes better relationship skills, including communication, active listening, conflict management, and more.

Encourages Self-Reflection & Improvement

Social-emotional learning brings about self-reflection, allowing students to determine how they can better themselves. This leads to more self-awareness, self-motivation, self-discipline, and more. SEL helps students understand their own strengths and weaknesses and gives them tools to retain positivity, self-efficacy, and impulse control.

Produces More Civically-Responsible Individuals 

When children are taught to treat others as they wish to be treated and when they understand their own emotions and can control their actions despite their feelings, they generally turn into adults who have the same skills. Many adults today struggle with being emotionally-driven and socially inept, but we can utilize these SEL ideals to ensure that this generation of students grow into emotionally and socially-healthy adults.