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The Evolution of SEL

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Here’s what I think …

By Ty Ankrom, Superintendent
Pickaway County Educational Service Center.
September 20, 2013

One of the great things about education is that it evolves. Students today aren’t learning the way I was taught and I know the way I was taught was different from that of my grandparents.

A science that is gradually moving out of the niche zone is social-emotional learning, which encourages the development of social and emotional competencies in children.

CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) describes social-emotional learning as a process that helps children develop attitudes and skills to positively deal with their emotions and with others, while also learning how to solve problems and make decisions.

CASEL reports that the benefits of social-emotional learning include: improvement in students’ positive behavior and a reduction in negative behavior; improvement in students’ academic performance and attitudes toward school; and, preparation of young people for success in adulthood.

In addition, CASEL reports on its Web site that social-emotional learning helps students become good communicators, cooperative members of a team, effective leaders and caring, concerned members of their communities. It teaches them how to set and achieve goals and how to persist in the face of challenges. These are precisely the skills that today’s employers consider important.

Susanna Palomares, author of numerous books on social-emotional learning and owner of Innerchoice Publishing, says embracing social and emotional learning results in long-term benefits.

“Children who are socially and emotionally competent – who manage their own feelings well and who recognize and respond effectively to the feelings of others – are at an advantage in every area of life, whether with family and peer relationships, school, sports or community and organizational pursuits.

“Children with well developed social and emotional skills are also more likely to lead happy and productive lives and to master the habits of mind that will assure them personal and career success as adults.”

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