Social emotional learning

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Social emotional learning (SEL) is a process for learning life skills, including how to deal with oneself, others and relationships, and work in an effective manner. In dealing with oneself, SEL helps in recognizing our emotions and learning how to manage those feelings. In dealing with others, SEL helps with developing sympathy and empathy for others, and maintaining positive relationships. SEL also focuses on dealing with a variety of situations in a constructive and ethical manner.[1]

Historical influence[edit]

During the mid-1990s, Daniel Goleman published his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, which popularized the concept of emotional intelligence. The term social emotional learning (SEL) emerged from the research in social competence programs which could be applied to emotional intelligence.[2]

Skills involved[edit]

The following 15 skills listed are involved and promoted in SEL:

  1. "Recognizing emotions in self and others"
  2. "Regulating and managing strong emotions (positive and negative)"
  3. "Recognizing strengths and areas of need"
  4. "Listening and communicating accurately and clearly"
  5. "Taking others' perspectives and sensing their emotions"
  6. "Respecting others and self and appreciating differences"
  7. "Identifying problems correctly"
  8. "Setting positive and realistic goals"
  9. "Problem solving, decision making, and planning"
  10. "Approaching others and building positive relationships"
  11. "Resisting negative peer pressure"
  12. "Cooperating, negotiating, and managing conflict nonviolently"
  13. "Working effectively in groups"
  14. "Help-seeking and help-giving"
  15. "Showing ethical and social responsibility" [3]

Mental health in K-12 education[edit]

2003 research from CASEL found that 71% of students in 6th through 12th grade thought their school did not provide them with a caring, encouraging environment.[4] Another statistic from the same study revealed that "at least 1 child in 10 suffers from a mental illness that severely disrupts daily functioning at home, in school, or in the community" and that 70-80% of struggling children don’t receive appropriate mental health services.[5] Teaching social and emotional learning in schools aims to enhance children's understanding of themselves and those experiencing mental hardship and to encourage comfort in a school setting that values the development of knowledge, interpersonal skills and wellbeing in students.

Illinois Learning Standards[edit]

There are three goals for SEL in the Illinois Learning Standards:[6]

  1. "Develop self-awareness and self-management skills to achieve school and life success."
  2. "Use social-awareness and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive relationships."
  3. "Demonstrate decision-making skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community contexts."

Benefits[edit]

The benefits of SEL can be found both in a school and home setting. For instance, SEL improves positive behaviors while reducing negative behaviors. Positive behaviours include improved social emotional skills, improved attitudes about self and others, and improved behaviour within the classroom. Negative behaviours that are reduced include conduct problems and emotional distress. Furthermore, SEL skills are maintained throughout life; even into adulthood, they can help to foster success.[7]

Moreover, SEL can help to improve several skills including nonverbal communication skills, socially compentent behaviour, and social meaning and reasoning. Nonverbal communication is important because the majority of emotional meaning is conveyed without spoken words, and instead utilizes paralanguage, facial expressions, gestures and postures, interpersonal distance, and touch, rhythm and time.[8] Social skills also play an important role in interpreting, encoding and reasoning social and emotional information that are associated with the social behaviour exhibited by the child.[9] Finally, social meaning and reasoning are important in problem solving. Social meaning is the ability to interpret others' emotions and language, and to be able to respond appropriately, whereas social reasoning is that ability to identify a problem, set goals and evaluate the possible solutions available.[10]

According to CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) the key findings linking social and emotional learning include improved academic performance and educational outcomes (including a 14% increase on standardized tests), promotion of deeper understanding of subject matter, helped students learn well with others, increased student engagement in school, and decreased behaviours that interfere with learning.[11] Studies also show that sustained and well-integrated social and emotional learning (SEL) engages students and improves achievement.[12]

Research reported on the Edutopia site suggests a positive correlation among SEL and academic success. Edutopia resources state that a high EQ corresponds to reduced misbehaviors and class disruption, fostering enhanced learning environments, as well as developing greater confidence and resilience in children in the face of academic struggle due to strengthened interpersonal bonds and communication skills.[13] Beyond the classroom, CASEL states that SEL promotes the cultivation of lifelong skills such as responsible decision making by considering impact, and relationship management by emphasizing effective communication tactics.[14]

In education[edit]

Teachers, counselors and parents can play an important role in facilitating SEL. To begin, learning social and emotional skills is similar to learning other academic skills. Implementing a prevention program in schools can help to increase competence and learning in students which may be applied to more complex situations in the future. Teachers can accomplish this in the classroom through effective and direct classroom instructions, student engagement in positive activities, and involving parents, students and the community in planning, evaluating and implementing the program into the classroom.[15]

Teachers also play a very important role in helping students with the positive self-talk. Without positive self-talk students can get caught in what they think they can't do. By reminding them to switch their negative self-talk to positive self-talk or by asking them what their self-talk is telling them, students are able to re-evaluate their internal thinking. Through using positive self-talk students are able to gain confidence in areas where they may not have been so confident in - such as being afraid of going across the monkey bars. Through reminding the student to change their self-talk to positive self-talk and say "I can! I can do this!" they are once again able to re-evaluate their thinking to only better themselves. SEL allows students to identify their emotions and enable them to use those emotions to “facilitate … [their] learning and their ultimate success in school”.[16] Continually practicing positive self-talk helps the students to view their life, schoolwork and ability through an optimistic lens. As the “Mind Up” program states, “Optimism is a way of seeing life hopefully and having an expectation of success and well-bring. It correlates strongly with good health and effective coping strategies”.[17]

SEL allows students to identify their emotions and enable them to use those emotions to “facilitate … [their] learning and their ultimate success in school” (Schonert-Reichl and Hymel). In their article, Educating the Heart As Well As The Mind: Social and Emotional Learning for School and Life Success”, Schonert-Reichl and Hymel S argue, “students do not learn alone but rather in collaboration with their teachers, in the company of their peers, and with the support of their families” (Schonert-Reichl and Hymel 4).[18] Through working on social emotional learning with students, teachers are “fostering students’ social emotional skills [which] not only helps them to develop the skills necessary for success in schools, such skills assist them to become more caring, responsible, and concerned citizens” (Schonert-Reichl and Hymel 4[19]).

Lastly, teaching students how to recognize their emotions, both positive and negative, is also a goal of the CASEL program that was put in place to help teachers facilitate social emotional learning. CASEL believes that “Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) has five competencies: Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, interpersonal relationships and decision making skills”.[20] With these 5 competencies, a student is able to recognize emotions and emotional triggers, make and identify personal and academic goals, demonstrate cooperation and team work, and identify ways to resist peer pressure to engage in unsafe or unethical activities.[21]

Parents[edit]

It is important to also recognize that the facilitation can happen both at school and home. Acquiring nonverbal communication skills is important for developing SEL skills, since the majority of emotions are conveyed without words. Teachers and parents can improve nonverbal communication skills through the technique of emotional coaching. Emotional coaching is a technique developed by John Gottman and can provide guidance about emotions for children through a step process. Step 1: One needs to be aware of the learner's emotions, Step 2: Recognition of uncomfortable feelings can be a gateway for teaching and guidance opportunities, Step 3: Emotions exhibited need to be validated rather than evaluated, Step 4: Learners need help in labeling these emotions, Step 5: Finally, the problem that led to the emotions needs to be solved.[22]

Furthermore, at home SEL can be fostered through the emphasis of sharing, listening, confidence, and tending to matters. A child's emotional and social development can grow by promoting and practicing these behaviours.[23]

Learning disabilities[edit]

It is recognized that the majority of children with learning disabilities have difficulties with social relationships. More specifically, there are three SEL skill areas that can be addressed and improved for children with learning disabilities. Firstly, it is difficult for children with learning disabilities to recognize emotions of self and others. However, academic implications to improve the skill may involve reading or hearing a story and understanding the emotions of the characters and the plot. Secondly, it is difficult for children with learning disabilities to regulate and manage strong emotions, both positive and negative. Improving this skill may involve conversing with the teacher about these emotions and recording these emotions on a scaled thermometer. Lastly, it is often difficult for children with learning disabilities to recognize their strengths and areas of need too. Until the Last Child is a vehicle to promote positive connections between school contributions and recognizing strengths. Also, Ability and Time of Ability is a program used to help identify strengths of students and then have them work together at set times.[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://casel.org/why-it-matters/what-is-sel/
  2. ^ Elias, M. J. (2004). "The connection between social-emotional learning and learning disabilities: Implications for intervention". Learning Disability Quarterly 27 (1): 53–63. doi:10.2307/1593632. 
  3. ^ Elias, M. J. (2004). "The connection between social-emotional learning and learning disabilities: Implications for intervention". Learning Disability Quarterly 27 (1): 53–63. doi:10.2307/1593632. 
  4. ^ http://casel.org/why-it-matters/sel-faqs/
  5. ^ http://casel.org/why-it-matters/sel-faqs/
  6. ^ http://www.isbe.state.il.us/ils/social_emotional/standards.htm
  7. ^ http://casel.org/why-it-matters/benefits-of-sel/
  8. ^ Elksnin, Linda K.; Nick Elksnin (2003). "Fostering Social-emotional learning in the classroom". Education 124 (1): 63–48. 
  9. ^ McKown, Clark; Laura M. Gumbiner, Nicole M. Russo & Meryl Lipton (2009). "Social-emotional learning skill, self-regulation, and social competence in typically developing and clinic-referred children". Journal for Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 38 (6): 858–871. doi:10.1080/15374410903258934. 
  10. ^ McKown, Clark; Laura M. Gumbiner, Nicole M. Russo & Meryl Lipton (2009). "Social-emotional learning skill, self-regulation, and social competence in typically developing and clinic-referred children". Journal for Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 38 (6): 858–871. doi:10.1080/15374410903258934. 
  11. ^ http://casel.org
  12. ^ "Five Keys to Successful Social and Emotional Learning". Edutopia / The George Lucas Educational Foundation. 
  13. ^ http://www.edutopia.org/sel-research-learning-outcomes
  14. ^ http://www.edutopia.org/sel-research-learning-outcomes
  15. ^ Greenberg, Mark T.; Roger P. Weissberg, Mary Utne O'Brien, Joseph E. Zins, Linda Fredericks, Hank Resnik & Maurice J. Elias (2003). "Enhancing school-based prevention and youth development through coordinated social, emotional and academic learning". American Psychologist 58 (6/7): 466–474. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.58.6-7.466. 
  16. ^ http://www.jcsh-cces.ca/upload/Educating_Heart_Spring07-1.pdf
  17. ^ The Hawn Foundation. The Mind-Up Curriculum: Grade Pre-K-2. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2011. Print.
  18. ^ http://www.jcsh-cces.ca/upload/Educating_Heart_Spring07-1.pdf
  19. ^ http://www.jcsh-cces.ca/upload/Educating_Heart_Spring07-1.pdf
  20. ^ http://www.casel.org/social-and-emotional-learning/core-competencies
  21. ^ http://www.casel.org/social-and-emotional-learning/core-competencies
  22. ^ Elksnin, Linda K.; Nick Elksnin (2003). "Fostering Social-emotional learning in the classroom". Education 124 (1): 63–48. 
  23. ^ http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/social-and-emotional-learning.htm
  24. ^ Elias, M. J. (2004). "The connection between social-emotional learning and learning disabilities: Implications for intervention". Learning Disability Quarterly 27 (1): 53–63. doi:10.2307/1593632. 

Further reading[edit]