SEL Intro #1: What is Social Emotional Learning?


SEL Intro #1: It's in the classroom!

This is the first in a series of informational blog posts: SEL Intro #1 – #10. Check back weekly or search our archive for more!


You’ve probably heard about Social Emotional Learning (SEL) recently. It is a topic in education that’s becoming increasingly popular in schools around the country. Similarly, SEL is showing up in kids’ programs like summer camp and after school. It obviously has something to do with learning, being social and having emotions. But what, specifically, is Social Emotional Learning?


Put simply, SEL is teaching skills that are used to navigate life and relate to others. Acquiring and refining these skills is an incremental process that starts in childhood and continues throughout life. Consequently, adults with good SEL skills are more successful: they are better at understanding themselves, interacting with others and facing challenges.


Although it is only becoming popular now, SEL is not a new concept. In 1994 researchers, educators and child advocates met to address concern over ineffective school programming to promote positive development. Primarily, they saw a lack of coordination between drug prevention, violence prevention, sex education, civic education, moral education and other efforts.

As a result, The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) was formed and became one of the first organizations to define SEL. They divided SEL skills into five core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making. Then, after defining it, they set about establishing high-quality, evidence-based SEL as an essential part of preschool through high school education.

More Info, Please?

You can learn more about SEL by watching these two videos from CASEL:

Plus, be on the lookout for the next in this series of posts: SEL Intro #2: What’s the Science Behind Social Emotional Learning?