What is Social Emotional Learning?
What Does SEL Instruction Look Like?
There are many ways to provide SEL instruction to school-age children. The most natural is for the adults at the school to connect regularly with students, and to model respect, kindness, and connectedness. For example, greeting students by name as they arrive at school.
Additional SEL instruction might include formal learning about emotions, positive communication, or self-regulation. This can be provided through assemblies, classroom instruction, or additional programing, such as the Roots of Empathy program. Monday Morning Meeting and classroom meetings also provide opportunities to introduce children to SEL skills and to allow for practice those skills. Service learning projects, such as coat drives or bake sales give children the opportunity to take responsibility and to express caring for others. Before and after school programs may also offer opportunities for skill building.
Core Competencies & SEL
The best way to develop the SEL skills of children it to introduce them to SEL skills, and then to give them multiple opportunities to practice those skills. Researchers have identified 5 categories of SEL skills, which they often call 'core competencies'. They are: self-awareness (sometimes called emotional literacy), social-awareness, self-management (sometimes called self-regulation), relationship skills, and responsible decision making.
Children need many opportunities to practice SEL skills, at school and at home. Making mistakes is tremendously important to becoming fluent in SEL skills. QAE teachers look for multiple opportunities for students to practice their SEL skills, such as with our conflict resolution program (Kelso's Choice). The Positive Discipline in the Classroom program provides an excellent framework through which the teachers can introduce SEL skills and give children opportunities to practice and gain fluency.