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Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), An Overview

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“SEL” is the broadest term for a synthesizing, evidence-based, human development discipline.

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Converging research findings across many human development disciplines and sub-disciplines point to social and emotional learning (SEL) as foundational to effective educational practices.

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 Specific areas like…

SELSpecificSubDisciplines

…and broader areas like…

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…are now being integrated under “SEL.”

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Social and Emotional Learning Programming

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Helps students & adults become competent in five (5) core social & emotional areas:

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☞  Self-awareness

 

☞  Self-management

 

☞  Social awareness

 

☞  Relationship skills

 

☞  Responsible decision-making

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Enables students to make healthy decisions, resist inappropriate peer pressure, and succeed academically

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Creates caring and supportive school learning environments, including a positive & healthy school climate

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Is Supportive of Teachers

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☞  Helps adults become more competent in the same five core social & emotional areas as their students

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☞  Enables school staff to more consistently make their own healthy decisions, to resist inappropriate adult peer pressure to maintain the status quo, and to participate with success in the school’s planned change efforts

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☞  Supports students’ pro-social and pro-academic engagements, further reducing dysfunctional and unnecessary stress among students and staff

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☞  Your school culture works for you and for your students’ academic, civic, and vocational achievements

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How Does This Work?

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Social and emotional skills instruction

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when fully integrated within all academic curriculum areas

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and with teacher instructional practices

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provides TWO KEY FOUNDATIONS:

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1)  SEL skill acquisition by students

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2)  Improved student attitudes about self, others, and school.

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This foundation, in turn, leads to

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creation of inclusive, high performance, learning cultures:

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defined by

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  • enhanced adjustment

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  • enhanced academic performance

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as reflected in

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  • more positive social behaviors and peer relationships

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  • fewer conduct problems

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  • less emotional distress

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  • improved grades and test scores.

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TwoSELFndtns>BetterTestScores

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SEL is evidence-based

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Research, published in many thousands of studies internationally over the last thirty years across the full variety of human development and performance disciplines and sub-disciplines, are, taken together, extremely informative.

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Social and emotional learning (SEL) stands out as a central foundation for human development and growth.

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Drilling down more specifically to school performance, more than 200 research studies studies, conducted by independent scientists, have been synthesized by CASEL and others.

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These studies, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, show clear and significant school and student performance improvements.

 

The evidence is multi-dimensional and convergent:

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School-wide SEL programming clearly and significantly benefits our students’ academic and pro-social civic performance more clearly than any other identified approach.

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“It is now becoming widely recognized that “social and emotional learning” in schools can be as important as — or even more important than — cognitive gains in explaining important developmental and life outcomes” (Durlak et al. 2011; Heckman and Kautz 2012; Levin 2012).

~(Cited in Belfield, Bowden, Klapp, Levin, Shand, Zander, 2015,

The Economic Value of Social & Emotional Learning,

Columbia University).

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Benefits of School-Based Social and Emotional Learning Programs: Highlights from a Major New Report  ( << Click here for more detail.)

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Examples of key research findings include the following:

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SEL programming in school and after-school settings significantly improves the conduct and academic performance of both the highest-needs students (those already identified by schools as at risk for problems) and the general student population.

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Well-implemented SEL programming in schools provides an average gain of 11 percentile points on standardized achievement tests for general population students.

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Well-implemented SEL programming promotes meaningful student growth across many areas of importance to educators and parents.

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SEL produces beneficial behavioral outcomes related to both (1) personal competencies and (2) creation of caring and supportive environments.

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Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematical (STEM) informed human performance understandings also point to SEL as critically important.

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Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematical (STEM) human performance understandings lend compelling, supportive, and practical evidence of the critical foundations of respect-based social and emotional learning for optimal human development.

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These understandings extend to both our individual and collective human development, providing greater agility, adaptability, and sustainability.

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In a school context, for example, clear values and behaviorally-supported purpose, that includes respect for one’s own and others’ constructive personal discretion, can reliably lead to enhanced avenues of support and collaboration to mutual benefit.

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This can build to increasing advantage, especially when also supported by some participants’ regular personal practice of mindfulness.

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Such focused applications of STEM-informed human performance understandings provide many positive results.

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Many of these “new” understandings turn out to be consistent with many cherished and ancient spiritual adages and traditions similarly based upon respect with mindfulness, particularly as relates to survival, safety, danger, novelty, our social nature, our diversity, the development of trust and alignment, constructive conflict resolution, resilience, and growth with sustainability.

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“SEL” has become an integrative “BIG IDEA” for public school development and student performance.

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>> Return to District Solutions page.

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>> Return to Classroom Solutions page.

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>> Return to SEL Coaching and Consultation page.

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>> Return to “Putting the Horse Back in Front of the Cart” in Our Public Schools Requires Courage page.

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