Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for diverse others, establish and maintain a range of supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.
For all students to benefit, school and SEL efforts must be implemented equitably and intentionally advance equity; promote antiracism; elevate students’ cultural assets, voice, participation, and agency; and foster belonging for all individuals and groups. We recognize the pervasive influence of historical, systemic, and unconscious racism throughout our society. We also believe that SEL skills, such as emotional empathy and perspective-taking, can be learned in ways that foster the courage to name and interrupt corrosive systemic and individual racial bias. Adults need these skills as much as our youth.
When we refer to SEL, we are including systematic efforts to promote any or all of the following areas: social and emotional development, 21st century skills, workforce and employer development, mindfulness, growth mindset, Universal by Design multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), whole human development, positive youth development, restorative justice, positive climate and culture, and caring schools and communities based on equity and inclusion.
An extensive body of rigorous research (including randomized control trials, longitudinal follow-ups, and multiple replications) demonstrates that education that promotes SEL gets results, and that teachers in all academic areas can effectively teach SEL. Evidence demonstrates that social and emotional learning (SEL) improves mental health, social skills and behavior, academic achievement, and college and career readiness.