In a nutshell, social and emotion learning is when children learn skills that enable them to understand others (social) and understand self (emotional). These principles are often represented within five main areas: Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills and Responsible Decision Making.
Students with well-developed social and emotional skills find it easier to manage themselves, relate to others, develop resilience and a sense of self-worth, resolve conflict, engage in teamwork and feel positive about themselves and the world around them. The development of personal and social capability is a foundation for learning and for citizenship.
We are currently in a very exciting time within education. Schools are changing, because our world is changing. In the future, SEL skills are expected to be the most important indicator of success in life. A global survey of 645 education experts by the World Innovation Summit for Education identified that:
- Personal skills and general ‘know-how’ (eg problem solving) will play a bigger role within the educational environment than solely academic grades;
- Employment requirements for skills like interpersonal relationships, collaboration and creativity will rank equally or above school/educational qualifications.
Furthermore, the recent findings from the 2015 OECD Report indicated that there is a link between an individual’s SEL and positive outcomes; the importance of positive relationships and interconnectedness plays a big role in determining someone’s positive mental health; just as academic skills are taught, so should SEL skills be taught.
Recent data also indicates that schools which focus on SEL:
- Boost academic performance
- Increase student interest in learning
- Improve school climate
- Improve student behaviour
- Reduce emotional distress
- Reduce bullying and identify effective preventative measures