Social-emotional learning is “the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interindividual skills that are vital for the success in school, work, and life.”
Fremont, CA: It is vital to human development to equip students with the skills, abilities, tools, and knowledge to create positive relationships, solve problems, make intelligent decisions, and achieve self-awareness. Social-emotional learning can also give the foundation for educational success.
Besides, social-emotional learning has a role to play within the context of pushes for inclusive learning and accessible education as schools encompass people from different backgrounds who face diverse disputes; students are required to understand this and develop empathy and compassion.
5 Key Social-Emotional Learning Areas
Understanding the notion of social-emotional learning can be aided by breaking it down into some key areas. Therefore, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has formed the ‘CASEL 5’ framework, which summarizes five core skills or areas associated with social-emotional learning.
The section below examines these five skill areas in greater detail:
Self-awareness is sometimes described as the utmost skill in social-emotional learning. CASEL defines it as the ability to “realize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they impact behavior across contexts.”
A Landmark Outreach article describes some of the primary skills associated with self-awareness. These skills comprise a student’s ability to recognize and identify their own emotions, develop an insight of “self” which suits reality, believe in their capacity to accomplish goals, and determine their areas of strength and weakness.
Also, developing self-awareness may need students to reflect on and examine their prejudices and biases and create a mindset that facilitates continuous personal growth. For students, self-consciousness is about self-reflection and building an understanding of who they are as a person.
Self-management is closely relevant to self-awareness and follows from its development in numerous ways. For instance, the CASEL framework describes self-management as the capacity to “manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in diverse situations” to achieve personal aspirations.
An outline from Greater Good in Education explains this concept further. It says that self-management is a process that incorporates students navigating their thoughts, behaviors, and emotions to develop an ability to make decisions that benefit themselves and those around them.
Some primary skills associated with self-management include setting goals, maintaining attention, managing and controlling emotions, demonstrating resilience, and using feedback to make personal progress.
3. Social Awareness
The following skill area connected with social-emotional learning is social awareness. A brilliant way to think of this is by contrasting it with self-awareness. While the former refers to students’ ability to understand themselves and their actions, social awareness is about becoming more informed about others and compassion for them.
Social awareness also comprises demonstrating empathy and understanding. Such skills incorporate the ability to understand the perspectives of others and to appreciate diversity in terms of different backgrounds and cultures.
One of the ways teachers may be capable of making students more familiar with the idea of social awareness is by explaining the concept of The Golden Rule, which can be epitomized as “treat others the manner you wish to be treated.”
4. Relationship Skills
The fourth principal skill area associated with social-emotional learning is the area of relationship skills. Relationship skills can be widely defined as building and maintaining positive relationships with others and learning how to communicate with others efficiently while resisting negative social pressures.
Developing relationship skills involves working well with others and achieving shared goals or objectives. A strong core is also placed on conflict resolution and collaborative problem-solving, which can help students when asked to work as part of a team or collaborate with a partner.
A significant part of the relationship skills component of social-emotional learning includes developing leadership skills. Instilling such skills does not just mean developing the skills to lead a group of people to a shared objective. Still, it also indicates creating a sense of social justice and being willing to stand up for the requirements and rights of other people.
5. Responsible Decision-Making
The last main area, along with social-emotional learning, is responsible decision-making. This skill can be explained as the capacity to make ethical, safe, caring, and constructive decisions while remaining heedful of the consequences of personal behavior or the potential outcomes that are likely to arise from different choices.
Finally, the responsible decision-making component teaches students to evaluate their decisions’ potential benefits and consequences. It is also regarding these skills being applied in and out of school.
One of the aspects stressed in an article written for Positive Action is that decisions can hold social, emotional, physical, and intellectual results or consequences. Another important aspect is teaching students that positive choices can lead to growth and positive change, while adverse decisions have the opposite effect.