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Social and Emotional Learning

Social and Emotional Learning at home, in school and in the classroom

So much that happens outside the classroom affects a child’s behavior and performance inside the classroom. Some students come in angry-maybe they had a fight with their parents-or sad-maybe they went through a breakup or lost someone close to them. Some have witnessed violence in their homes or neighborhoods. Without the skills to identify how they are feeling and talk through it, they may express their emotions by withdrawing, shutting down in class, or disrupting lessons.

Social Emotional learning has been proven to improve students’ academic performance by prioritizing communication, empathy, and problem solving.
(Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray. Why We’re Introducing Social-Emotional Learning in New York City Schools. Fortune.com 6/20/19)

Early studies examining the impact of SEL in the classroom curriculum and culture can support elementary students to better manage personal and collective behavior, to improve attendance rates and to raise student achievement rates. (Susan R. Adams and Camille Richie. Social Emotional Learning and English Language Learners: A Review of the Literature. ITJ, 2017, Vol. 17, Number 1)

According to CASEL (2017), SEL is the process through which children and adults obtain 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. (Susan R. Adams and Camille Richie. Social Emotional Learning and English Language Learners: A Review of the Literature. ITJ, 2017, Vol. 17, Number 1)

Components of Social Emotional Learning
Self-awareness refers to being aware of one’s emotional triggers, feelings, and one’s impact on others, and to having a growth mindset. This includes learning to stop, notice and articulate one’s feelings, mood, or energy level in order to proactively preempt escalating into destructive or disruptive behaviors. Self-awareness can improve one’s ability to manage oneself.

Self-management is the ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations. This means the learner seeks patterns and identifies strategies which will increase the level of self-control one demonstrates in stressful or distracting situations. This includes creating and maintaining goals, whether personal or academic, and with time leads to being able to control impulsivity and being able to self-motivate (Elias, et al., 2017; Zins & Elias, 2007).

Social Awareness is recognizing that each of us comes from a variety of backgrounds and that being different from one another requires the ability to empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Social awareness also allows the learner to develop and demonstrate respect for others and to appreciate diverse perspectives.

Relationship skills represent the ability to establish and keep healthy relationships with individuals, whether from similar or diverse backgrounds. Key aspects of managing and maintaining these relationships are the ability to listen carefully and communicate clearly with others.

Responsible decision-making is the ability to make constructive choices in personal behavior and social interactions based on social norms, ethical standards and safety concerns. In a classroom setting, a student would be able to identify a problem, analyze the situation, and generate the best solution to the problem (Elias, et al., 2017; Zins & Elias, 2007).
(Susan R. Adams and Camille Richie. Social Emotional Learning and English Language Learners: A Review of the Literature. ITJ, 2017, Vol. 17, Number 1)

Developing these SEL components results in students who are knowledgeable, responsible, and caring members of their classrooms and of their communities. Learning to manage oneself through SEL leads to improved academic success, to positive relationships within and beyond the classroom, and to students increasingly seeing themselves as assets in their community.

While there is still a great need for additional research on implementing SEL in the mainstream classroom with ELLs, early studies (Niehaus & Adelson, 2013; 2014; 2015) show great promise, particularly when SEL is implemented throughout the curriculum and becomes the foundation of an inclusive and supportive classroom culture. The more SEL is integrated into the natural normal ways of being together in the classroom, the more students’ social and emotional skills will improve. When SEL is given ample time to develop and is robustly integrated into the curriculum, over time ELLs are likely to show meaningful improvements in classroom behavior, attendance, and overall achievement. Social and emotional learning in the elementary mainstream classroom might well be the missing key for ELLs to achieve long-term success inside of and beyond the classroom.
(Susan R. Adams and Camille Richie. Social Emotional Learning and English Language Learners: A Review of the Literature. ITJ, 2017, Vol. 17, Number 1)




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