Social Emotional Learning
What is Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)?
SEL is the “process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”[i]
There are many different names for social and emotional learning including: 21st century skills, character, non-cognitive skills, soft skills, and life skills. The following frameworks offer two different ways of understanding SEL.
SEL in Folsom Cordova Unified School District
As part of a focus on teaching the whole child, Folsom Cordova Unified School District has defined a strategy for integrated and explicit social and emotional learning (SEL) opportunities for students and adults in our system. We know from research that social-emotional competence can be achieved in the following ways:
- Positive climate and culture focused on empathy, respect, and equity
- Direct SEL instruction
- SEL integrated into academic lessons and extracurricular activities
- Educative and restorative discipline practices that build community and repair harm
SEL in California
The California Department of Education (CDE) has also made Social-Emotional Learning a focus for all schools across the state. According to the CDE website, the department “is committed to helping educators learn more about SEL and how to make this a part of every child’s school experience. To support this work, CDE has joined the Collaborating States Initiative a group of states that share information, best practices, and promising tools and ideas in the interest of building strong Social Emotional Learning in schools across their states. The Collaborating States Initiative is hosted by the Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning.
The CDE has convened a group of experts from different sectors of the education system to advise on the best ways to support SEL implementation. The following are products this team has developed:
- Social and Emotional Learning Guiding Principles (full version(PDF) and summary);
- Social and Emotional Learning Resource Guide;
- Recommendations for Policy and Practice (final is forthcoming)
Channa Cook Harvey, Ph. D.
Director, Social Emotional Learning
(Social Emotional Academic Development)