Social-Emotional Learning

What is SEL?

Figure 2

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions ( While SEL implementation is often viewed as a separate curriculum or program disconnected from academic content, the truth is, all learning has a social-emotional foundation.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) offers a widely-used framework which identifies the following five basic SEL competencies (Figure 2).

The Initiative embraces the philosophy that SEL is an integral part of the school climate improvement process. Schools that are committed to the improvement process can rarely move the needle without prioritizing SEL. As important as it is, SEL is one part of the whole and often a building block on which other improvement strategies are leveraged.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.

-Frederick Douglass

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