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What is Social-Emotional Learning and How Does it Help Students?

As education continues to evolve, so do the different strategies used to help students succeed. One of the most important strategies gaining traction in recent years is social-emotional learning (SEL). SEL is a holistic approach to teaching that addresses academic success and how students can build genuine self-confidence, connect with their peers, overcome adversity, and problem-solve. Let’s look closer at what SEL is and what it isn’t.

What Social-Emotional Learning Is Not

SEL is not about indulging students or trying to make them feel good about themselves all the time. It’s also not about getting students to conform to one specific set of values or beliefs—it’s about helping them develop their sense of self-worth and identity (not related to sexuality or gender). Nor is it about “teaching to the test”—it’s about helping students develop skills that will help them in all areas of life, both inside and outside the classroom.

What Social-Emotional Learning Is

At its core, SEL is about developing a person’s emotional intelligence—or EQ—which includes empathy, self-awareness, communication, resilience, and collaboration. It’s an approach recognizing that our emotions are integral to who we are as human beings and how we interact with the world around us. In other words, SEL focuses on helping students become emotionally healthy individuals who can be successful in all areas of life.

How Can Social-Emotional Learning Help Students?

Self-reflection is essential to unlocking life's potential, and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) can help students recognize any self-limiting beliefs hindering growth. Students learn to identify negative thought patterns before shifting their focus toward building positive relationships with others, improving communication skills, and sharpening collaboration abilities. Furthermore, SEL offers an invitation for meaningful introspection by providing insight into individual strengths & weaknesses—all while nurturing healthy habits such as good nutrition, exercise & quality rest for optimal emotional well-being.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is an important tool for helping students establish emotional health and overall success in life. By focusing on developing EQ or emotional intelligence – empathy, self-awareness, communication, resilience, and collaboration – SEL gives students the opportunity to discover their strengths & weaknesses while connecting with their peers & overcoming adversity through problem-solving & critical thinking skillsets, ultimately giving them the tools they need for success inside & outside of school walls! With this knowledge base firmly established within each student comes the power for greater individual success and growth potential for future generations.


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