Social Emotional Learning
From material on Hope Rising
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
More than two decades ago, Social Emotional Learning was defined as follows:
Self-Awareness. The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behaviour. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.
Self-Management. The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviours effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.
Social Awareness. The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behaviour, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
Relationship Skills. The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.
Responsible Decision-Making. The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behaviour and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.
SEL teaching can have a positive impact on academic achievement, conduct problems, emotional distress, and drug use, even up 18 years later. Governments that have mandated social emotional learning are surpassing their peers in graduation rates, seeing higher secondary education attainment, noting a reduction in bullying, and overall, better day-to-day behaviour.
For example, students in USA receiving comprehensive social and emotional learning instruction increased their achievement test scores by 11 percent.
A curriculum published in the USA uses these five main concepts to deliver SEL competencies:
Identity - Who I Am. Discover my role, my personality, and my character
Health - How to Maintain Order. Discover physical, mental, and emotional health
Community - How to Interact With Others - Discover family, people like me, people different than me, and strangers
Environment - Why and How to Manage Nature. Discover natural resources, plant life, and animal life
Economics - How to Multiply Resources and Produce Wealth. Discover income generation, financial literacy, and resource management
They have found that schools using this for two years or more indicate a strong uptrend in positive outcomes, including an increase in graduation rates, improved grades, and greater respect for authority. Conversely, schools using the curriculum see a strong downward trend in negative outcomes, such as suicides, unwanted teen pregnancies, absenteeism, bullying, in-school violence, disciplinary action, and suspensions.
Watch this 2 minute video of Dr Chan Hellman, Director of The Hope Research Center at Oklahoma University, who explains more:
Dr Hellman’s work builds upon the work of a pioneer in Hope Theory: Dr Rick Snyder. Scientific research by both Dr Hellman and Dr Snyder found that hope requires three elements: goals, pathways, and willpower. High-hope individuals are able to move fluidly between all three elements as they see a better future, set goals, determine pathways, overcome barriers, and are motivated to accomplish their goals. Low-hope individuals struggle to imagine anything different, they ruminate over the past, their goals are unrealistic, they can’t make any progress because of roadblocks, and they descend into despair and eventually apathy.
Dr Snyder wrote that the science and power of hope can actually contribute to “reducing risks and inoculating segments of society against despair" and when hope takes hold then “citizens should be less likely to become frustrated and act aggressively against each other.” Dr Hellman says that hope is a way of thinking, not an emotion, and because hope is a way of thinking, it can be taught. And because hope can be taught, it can be learned.
Retweet about this article: