Social and Emotional Learning
Social and emotional learning is the field that analyzes the ways in which children process and develop social and emotional competencies. The premise being that children learn best within a context that involves supportive relationships, challenging and innovative learning environments, and settings that promote good citizenship and work habits. SEL programming is used across age groups to help prevent, disrupt and dissuade youth from engaging in many risk behaviors while at the same time promoting skill sets that focus on positive activities, planning and relationship building. Although SEL programming is often times used as a broad, inclusive umbrella for youth programs, it’s outcomes are often associated with youth self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.
This paper began with a conversation about children. At Turnaround for Children, they wanted to understand how children acquire the skills and mindsets for learning. Which skills do we need to build in children for them to be successful in school? And if we know what they are, can they be taught? How does growing up with adversity impact the acquisition of these critical skills?
In this report, Child Trends indicates that there are five key social and emotional skills that help students thrive in school and in life over time: self control, persistence, mastery orientation, academic self-efficacy and social competence. The report describes tools that educators/organizations could use to assess and monitor the extent to which they are improving low-income students’ social and emotional skills.
In the midst of growing national interest in strengthening children’s “soft” or social-emotional skills as critical for learning, work, and life, a new study from Search Institute highlights the power of family relationships as a critical, but often neglected, factor in the development of character strengths in children.
There is wide agreement that resilience – the ability to respond positively to life’s challenges – is an important asset for positive youth development. However, there is much to learn about how to promote resilience in youth and how to help youth increase resilience.