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Category : Academics

What is Social and Emotional Learning?

Thursday , January 21 , 2021

Principal Ian Deonise speaking with a woman

What is Social and Emotional Learning?

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.

SEL Competencies

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) SEL framework fosters knowledge, skills, and attitudes across five areas of competence and multiple key settings to establish equitable learning environments that advance students’ learning and development.

The CASEL 5 addresses five broad, interrelated areas of competence, which are:

  • Self-awareness;
  • Self-management;
  • Social awareness;
  • Relationship skills; and
  • Responsible decision-making. 

Learn more about the CASEL SEL framework

Why is SEL Important?

Quality SEL instruction and programming increases SEL skills in students and has also been found to increase: 

  • Improved attitudes about self, others, and school;
  • Positive classroom behavior and social behaviors; and
  • Gains in academic achievement.

Quality SEL instruction and programming has been found to decrease:

  • Conduct problems;
  • Emotional distress; and
  • Drug use.

The impacts can be long lasting. Kindergarten students who are stronger in SEL competence were more likely to graduate high school, complete a college degree and obtain stable employment in young adulthood. Additionally, those students strong in SEL competence were less likely to be living in public housing, receiving public assistance, be involved with the police, or be in a detention facility.

CASEL SEL 101 for Parents:

Activities to Support SEL 

Some simple activities to support your child’s well-being during distancing (ex. Feelings chart, ways to feel better, etc):


About the Author

Jon Bowen

Jon Bowen is the District SEL Specialist for Paradise Valley Unified School District. He has worked in public education for more than 20 years and holds National Certification as a School Psychologist, is Board Certified and Licensed as a Behavior Analyst, and is a published author. Bowen’s professional interests include Social and Emotional Learning, Positive Behavioral Supports, and the systematic implementation of evidence-based practices. He believes when good science meets the context and culture of our schools and communities that we see positive outcomes for students, families, and educators.