How Does SEL Contribute to Equity and Excellence?

Education Technology Insights | Friday, May 06, 2022

The discipline of SEL grew out of a commitment to guarantee that all young people have the information, skills, and competencies necessary for academic and life success.

FREMONT, CA: The majority of individuals feel that it is critical for young people to develop trusted connections, a sense of purpose and belonging, and acquire and practice the skills necessary to achieve their objectives and contribute to their communities. That is why social and emotional learning (SEL) is critical—it can aid in providing educational opportunities and environments that foster the acquisition and practice of social, emotional, and intellectual abilities, all of which are necessary for healthy human development.

SEL has the potential to be a powerful lever for establishing caring, just, inclusive, and healthy schools that enable all students to attain their full potential. In the context of SEL, equity and excellence refer to all students—irrespective of race, ethnic origin, family income level, learning abilities, native language, immigration status, gender identity, or sexual orientation—participating in high-quality educational opportunities and environments that promote their healthy social, emotional, and academic development.

SEL promotes educational equity and excellence in the following ways:

• Fostering true school-family-community relationships in which children, families, educators, and community partners collaborate to create, execute, and constantly improve strategies and programs that serve all students in their local context. SEL assists stakeholders in developing the skills and relationships necessary for effective communication and collaboration across diverse perspectives and backgrounds. Fostering trusting and collaborative relationships in which educators can become more attuned to and appreciative of their students' developmental needs and unique strengths; increasing their awareness of their students' cultures, backgrounds, and learning differences; and creating inclusive classroom environments for all learners. SEL teaches and practices empathy, perspective-taking, and active listening for young people and adults to develop stronger connections with one another.

• Promoting rigorous and relevant curriculum and instruction that establishes high expectations and standards for all students and actively involves them in developing academic, social, and emotional skills necessary to attain their objectives and contribute to their communities. Evidence-based SEL programs and methods ensure that all kids have consistent chances to learn and practice developmentally appropriate skills necessary for success.

• Continuous assessment of policies, practices, and outcomes ensures that all children are treated equitably, have access to supportive learning environments, participate in high-quality educational opportunities and programs, and achieve academic, social, and emotional excellence. Implementing SEL based on research and continual improvement enables efforts toward equitable and optimal outcomes.

• By putting SEL first, educators, families, communities, and students may collaborate to build skills and create learning settings and experiences that more completely support the development of all young people, enabling them to thrive.

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