Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
Effective SEL processes necessarily involve aligning relationships, instruction, structures, and systems in ways that are culturally responsive, developmentally appropriate, coherent, and beneficial for all. Effective SEL unfolds through explicit learning and when woven throughout everyday practices. SEL competencies used by individuals, between individuals, and within and between groups are necessary for thriving, just, diverse, democratic societies.
Increasingly SEL has become a coordinating framework for how educators, families, and communities partner to promote students’ social, emotional, and academic learning.
When we refer to SEL, we are including systematic efforts to promote any or all of the following areas: social and emotional development, character development, 21st century skills, workforce readiness, employability skills, multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), mindfulness, grit, growth mindset, whole child development, moral development, positive youth development, restorative justice, behavioral skills, positive climate and culture, and caring schools and communities.
An extensive body of rigorous research (including randomized control trials, longitudinal follow-ups, and multiple replications) demonstrates that education that promotes SEL gets results, and that teachers in all academic areas can effectively teach SEL. Evidence demonstrates that social and emotional learning (SEL) improves mental health, social skills and behavior, academic achievement, and college and career readiness.