What is social and emotional learning?

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About this project

About this project

Social and emotional learning is the process through which people learn how to recognize and manage emotions, develop concern for others and establish positive relationships. They also learn how to make responsible decisions and handle challenging situations. Children are taught, for example, how to calm themselves when angry.

Teachers often bring social and emotional learning into their classroom naturally by talking to students about character traits in a discussion about a novel. But advocates point to specific curricula in which lessons are developmentally appropriate, build new skills and provide structured opportunities for children to practice and apply them.

Illinois is the first state to establish social and emotional learning goals and standards akin to those set for English, math and science. The following are goals and standards that schools must help students meet:

GOAL 1: Develop self-awareness and self-management skills to achieve school and life success.

  • Identify and manage one’s own emotions and behavior.
  • Recognize personal qualities and external supports.
  • Demonstrate skills related to achieving personal and academic goals.

GOAL 2: Use social awareness and interpersonal skills to establish, maintain positive relationships.

  • Recognize the feelings and perspectives of others.
  • Recognize individual and group similarities and differences.
  • Use communication and social skills to interact effectively .
  • Demonstrate an ability to prevent, manage and resolve interpersonal conflicts in constructive ways.

GOAL 3: Demonstrate decision-making skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school and community contexts.

  • Consider ethical, safety and societal factors in making decisions.
  • Apply decision making skills to deal responsibly with daily academic and social situations.
  • Contribute to the well-being of one’s school and community.