What is Social and Emotional Learning and How Can It Benefit All Students?
Social and emotional learning (SEL) teaches students to become better communicators who understand, manage, and express their emotions in a healthy way. Such learning gives students the means to create and maintain healthy relationships, plus encourages responsible decision making and the setting of positive goals. Below are some examples of how all students benefit when exposed to social and emotional learning.
Understanding, managing, and expressing emotions.
Students who take part in social and emotional learning are better able to understand, manage, and express their emotions. Understanding emotions is necessary in order to feel or show empathy toward others and allows students to form deeper connections with their family and friends. Learning to manage and express one's emotions in a positive manner helps students deal with stress and control negative impulses.
Improving communication skills.
Students can become better listeners and communicators through exposure to social and emotional learning. As better listeners, students gain a deeper understanding of their teachers' lectures and instructions, which often leads to greater academic success. Social and emotional learning also helps students recognize nonverbal cues, so they can avoid simple misunderstandings that may occur during communications both inside and outside of the classroom.
Creating and maintaining healthy relationships.
Social and emotional learning teaches students the necessary skills to create and maintain healthy relationships. Students are also taught constructive ways to resolve social conflicts, so they can work toward correcting any unhealthy relationships that may be holding them back.
Making responsible decisions.
Through social and emotional learning, students gain the skills to think critically when making decisions. This can prevent students from making poor or impulsive decisions that may negatively impact themselves or those around them. Students who make responsible decisions are also more likely to avoid risky behaviors and can more easily overcome certain behavioral issues that may disrupt fellow classmates.
Setting and achieving positive goals.
Students who engage in social and emotional learning are better prepared to set and achieve positive goals. Actively setting goals helps students complete class projects and assignments on time, leading to greater academic success. Those who set positive goals also tend to achieve more of what they want in life because defining one's goals is often the first step in making one's dreams a reality.
The skills gained during social and emotional learning are as important to a student's development as the knowledge gained through the study of academic subjects like reading, writing, and arithmetic. Not only does social and emotional learning benefit the student during their school years, but the skills gained during such learning can also have a positive impact throughout a person's adult life. By ensuring students are exposed to social and emotional learning, they will graduate with a more well-rounded skillset, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding of the world around them.