WHAT IS "SEL"?

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

SEL is more than just a program or lesson. It is about how teaching and learning happens, as well as what you teach and where you learn. CASEL’s widely used framework identifies five core competencies that when prioritized across settings – districts, schools, classrooms, families, and the wider community – can educate hearts, inspire minds, and help students navigate the world more effectively.

  • Self-awareness: Know your strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”

  • Self-management: Effectively manage stress, control impulses, and motivate yourself to set and achieve goals.

  • Social awareness: Understand the perspectives of others and empathize with them, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

  • Relationship skills: Communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.

  • Responsible decision-making: Make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety, and social norms.

A 2015 national study found statistically significant associations between SEL skills in kindergarten and key outcomes for young adults years later in education, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health (see here).

Self-Awareness

 

The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”

  • Identifying emotions

  • Accurate self-perception

  • Recognizing strengths

  • Self-confidence

  • Self-efficacy

Self-Management

 

The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.

  • Impulse control

  • Stress management

  • Self-discipline

  • Self-motivation

  • Goal-setting

  • Organizational skills

Social Awareness

 

The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

  • Perspective-taking

  • Empathy

  • Appreciating diversity

  • Respect for others

Responsible Decision-Making

 

The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms. The realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and a consideration of the well-being of oneself and others.

  • Identifying problems

  • Analyzing situations

  • Solving problems

  • Evaluating

  • Reflecting

  • Ethical responsibility

Relationship Skills

 

The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. The ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.

  • Communication

  • Social engagement

  • Relationship-building

  • Teamwork