The Role of Social and Emotional Learning

Education Technology Insights | Friday, April 22, 2022

It is never too early to begin discussing emotions and mental health with your children, and social-emotional learning plays a critical role in these discussions.

FREMONT, CA: Social-emotional learning (SEL) is defined as the process by which children and adults develop and effectively involve the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to comprehend and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and demonstrate empathy for others, form and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Not only is SEL beneficial for the development of relationships between students and teachers/guardians, but it also has favorable benefits on mental health, such as stress reduction.

If you have children or have dealt with them, you've almost certainly encountered a circumstance in which a child struggles to express or manage their emotions. This is not only infuriating for the child but also for parents and instructors.

Social-emotional learning can assist students in gaining self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relational skills, and the ability to make responsible choices. Additionally, research indicates that it promotes prosocial conduct, reduces stress, and enhances pupils' views toward school. These characteristics enable youngsters to interact positively with their peers and teachers. As a result, social-emotional learning can help teachers manage their classrooms more effectively.

Mental health and social-emotional learning are inextricably linked

According to the CDC, each year, one in five youngsters exhibits signs of a mental health issue. While social-emotional learning is not a substitute for treatment, it is an effective tool for treating mental health symptoms directly in the classroom or home. The key competencies of social-emotional learning are critical for comprehending emotions and establishing appropriate coping mechanisms. When children can manage their feelings, they can interact more effectively with family, friends, teachers, and the rest of the world.

Three systematic evaluations found that social-emotional learning programs improved students' social behaviors, conduct problems, emotional distress, and attitudes toward self and others, regardless of geographic region or racial or cultural background.

The University of British Columbia succinctly summarizes the benefits of social-emotional learning—thus, integrating SEL into teaching practices will not only enhance the individual child's social and emotional skills but will also donate to the innovation of safe and supportive environments in which all children feel included, lessen the stigma associated with mental health difficulties, and inspire children to seek help when they need it, thereby promoting mental well-being in all children.

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