SEL or Social and Emotional Learning is a process that is applied in order to help young kids and adults to procure knowledge, skill sets, and various attitudes and apply them to develop healthy identities and address emotions. In this process they are also enabled to achieve goals that are both personal and collective, grow and express empathy towards others, identify and build supportive relations and choose to make responsible decisions. SEL has been an integral part of the education system in many of the Western countries while it has been very recently introduced in the Indian school curriculum.
Social and Emotional learning (SEL) is not limited to the boundaries of a school campus, but extends to family and community. In other words, the educational equity and calibre that is achieved through SEL establishes learning environment and experiences that are known for being trustworthy relationships. The curriculums which include SEL as an important part of the course are extensively rigorous, and meaningful- it also addresses all forms of inequality and reinforces empowerment of young people as well as adults. The end result is a school climate which ensures both adults and youngsters can thrive together and hence contribute to the safety and wellbeing of the community.
What are the benefits of SEL?
As per research, it has been confirmed and agreed on by teachers, educators, and parents alike that it is possible to teach ways one can be socially and emotionally competent. Such models of learning can be practised and outcomes are indeed positive which are essential to succeed in school as well as in life.
Some of the key benefits of SEL include:
- Development of social and emotional skills of students, their attitudes, relationships and performance in the academics along with their overall perception of the atmosphere in classrooms and schools.
- Visible decrease of anxiety, various behavioral problems and substance use in students
- Significant and long-term improvement in the skills, attitudes, academics and overall prosocial behaviour in students
Fundamental areas of competence
There are five broad and interconnected areas that come under SEL and are addressed by CASEL 5- self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. The implementation of CASEL 5 has been carried out from preschool to high school and have been highly successful.
Moreover the theory of CASEL is a dynamic theory that adapts to the present times because it is dependent on the data set that is ever-changing. Hence, the implementation of CASEL too undergoes changes.
COVID-19 pandemic and SEL
The pandemic has not only affected the physical wellbeing of millions, but also put a lot of strain on the mental health of the parent community along with the teachers and children. Isolation and the lack of all the known forms of socialization has created a greater need to address social and emotional wellbeing of individuals and in the process, the community as a whole.
It is only with the help of SEL, all these issues can be accurately addressed by the teachers and parents, and can be taught to the children. Those countries who are taking the very first step to the introduction of SEL in the framework of national curriculum have a long and arduous journey ahead. While those who have been implementing SEL in their curriculum for decades need to learn and unlearn many aspect of the theory on the basis of what the past year has taught us in order to make SEL effective in the upcoming years.