Introducing SEL

We are fundamentally social and emotional beings and, as a result, social and emotional learning are fundamental to the achievement of success and well-being by all of us.
  • Social and emotional learning is an ongoing whole of life need and challenge
  • Every action and interaction has social and emotional aspects
  • All teaching and learning have SEL components
  • All relationships involve substantial social and emotional experiences
  • Our thinking shapes our social and emotional learning
  • Similar experiences can result in very different social and emotional learning
  • Social and emotional learning is complex and unpredictable
  • Our social and emotional learning is influenced by that of those around us
  • Significant others are more influential that casual acquaintances
  • ...
In short, for better or worse, social and emotional learning occurs in all places, at all times and in all contexts including school, home and the community. Supporting social and emotional learning is one of the core tasks for every school.

Even our knowledge is largely social and emotional
  • Explicit knowledge requires tacit knowledge
  • Tacit knowledge is derived from experience


What is social and emotional learning?

Social and Emotional Learning is the process of acquiring knowledge, skills and attitudes to
  • recognise and manage emotions
  • develop care and concern for self and others
  • establish and maintain positive relationships
  • make responsible decisions, and
  • set and achieve positive goals
  • constructively handle challenging situations

SEL for schools

Because social and emotional learning are so universal across place and time, it can be difficult to map those things needing conscious attention in the life and work of schools. Some schools adopt a social skills perspective for teaching SEL; some nurture habits of mind; others use school-wide positive behaviour support (SWPBS); or anti-bullying programs; or cooperative learning initiatives such as Tribes; or values programs; or include emotional literacy teaching; or....

There are a multitude of valuable initiatives all of which can make positive contributions to student and staff success and well-being. Perhaps the following four part framework might be useful to those schools that want to map their present provision and to identify opportunities for enhancing SEL in the school and its community.

1. Thinking –  knowing, understanding, appreciating, accepting and applying the requirements expected by the school, school system and the wider community
2. Emotional literacy that informs individual decision making and responses by recognising significant emotional experiences  in self & others
3. Social skills – enabling successful social interactions that enable us to meet our own needs without significantly impairing the success and well-being of others
4. Habits of Mind – successful self management over the course of life's challenges, ups and downs.  That is, long term sustainable approaches to life’s challenges and achievements



Mapping Social and Emotional Learning at Our School

We support social and emotional learning through our explicit (or tacit)
  • Expectations:
  • Rules:
  • Programs (SEL):
  • Pedagogies:
  • Practices, e.g., active supervision…
  • Problem solving methods
  • ...
General indicators of social and emotional learning
  • Greater sense of well-being
  • Greater sense of success
  • Greater sense of belonging
  • Greater sense of community
Behavioural indicators of social and emotional learning
  • Fewer incidents/issues
  • Faster recovery
  • Incidents/issues are less serious
  • Transference of learning into new situations
For more on social and emotional learning follow the links in the left-hand sidebar of this page

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