An Introduction to Social-Emotional Learning (SEL): Why It Matters

How can I help my students succeed? This is a common question among teachers who are always on the lookout for tools that would aid learning inside and outside the classroom.

Why not harness the power of social-emotional learning (SEL)?

The best part? You can apply SEL principles and practices to any subject.

What Is Social-Emotional Learning?

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.”

SEL includes the following competencies:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship skills
  • Responsible decision-making

As this definition of social-emotional learning implies, teachers need to go beyond academics.

It’s not enough to focus on curriculum, textbooks, and test scores.

Teachers must consider the impact of feelings and relationships in the classroom. They should also go further than CASEL’s definition and include physical activity and health, which also play a crucial role in social and emotional learning.

Does it seem overwhelming? Don’t worry. SEL is well worth the effort.

What Is the Importance of SEL for Educators?

In a nutshell, SEL boosts academic success and ensures the well-being of the whole school. Well-being is not just a buzzword; it’s the foundation for effective learning.

Don’t take our word for it. Take a look at the research that shows how essential SEL is to academic achievement.

With SEL, educators can overcome the following challenges:

  • Low grades
  • Behavior and discipline problems
  • Poor knowledge retention
  • Boredom or low motivation
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Poor collaboration skills
  • Student (and teacher) burnout

SEL also offers long-term mental health benefits. A lot of these classroom issues and carry over to adult life — in the workplace, home, and community — so why not nip them in the bud? Not only that, SEL can be a gamechanger during a pandemic that has made education even more challenging.

How Can I Learn More About SEL?

Big Pond Education offers a one-week online training on SEL for teachers of teenagers and young adults. “Introduction to Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL)” includes live sessions, self-paced modules, quizzes, and sample lesson plans to maximize learning.

The pilot run was facilitated by experts from Silta Education (Finland) from April 25 to 29, 2022.

Here’s what the first batch of Philippine educators has to say about the course:

“It’s opened my perspective on intentional mindfulness, rest, and collaboration in teaching and learning.”

“It’s true that learning cannot happen if students are not well.”

“I found it really valuable because it provides models on how I can personally implement SEL in my classroom teaching.”

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