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5 Keys to Understanding SEL to Impact School Community


Social emotional learning, otherwise known as SEL, is a buzzword becoming more foundational in schools across the country. Schools that have incorporated an SEL program have seen increases in grades as well as increases in attendance. When the classroom and the school become a safe, accepting, and positive environment, students gain skills for their future while in an environment primed for the potential to learn.


Giving students the vocabulary to recognize their social-emotional development is what programs like Sesame Street have been attempting to do for years. Still, everyone knows that muppets often lose their luster once students hit middle school…and, more recently, way before. Learning the foundational components of SEL and employing them regularly can help students see its value in your life.


1 - Self-Awareness

By understanding our own emotions, triggers, and thoughts, we can better understand our reactions to them. Self-efficacy develops from a strong sense of self and emotional awareness to find success in your decisions.


2 - Self-Management

Emotional regulation and appropriate behavioral reactions in different scenarios enable us to set and achieve our goals. Mental processes involving executive function can be appropriately achieved when we learn goal-setting, task prioritization, and impulse control.


3 - Social Awareness

Empathy and respect serve to further equity and inclusivity. When we can recognize and appreciate differences in an empathetic way, we can celebrate together that we are both alike and different.


4 - Relationship Skills

Knowing the components of a healthy relationship and how to positively contribute to those around you enable positive interactions with others and a harmonious classroom. Effective communication, listening skills, cooperation and support, conflict resolution, and identification of negative peer pressure are all essential relationship skills.


5 - Responsible Decision-Making

Students can positively and calmly solve problems and make decisions by identifying problems and appropriately analyzing them. Reflection as a group and individually enable us to learn from the past and move toward the future.


Imagine a school community where everyone is invested in SEL for students and faculty, pointing out gains and celebrating achievements in kindness, acceptance, and inclusivity. It can be a reality in your community with a decision to incorporate SEL.


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