There is an ABUNDANCE of interest and research regarding the impact of SEL with regard to our children. Consistently dedicating time to teach and practice SEL skills like kindness, cooperation, empathy, mindful communication, attending skills etc. is sometimes dismissed as not being needed or practical for schools and that teaching math and reading are more important thus leading to our rigorous focus on teaching and testing of them. I'd argue the opposite simply because to learn these academic skills it is key to feel safe, alert, interested and receptive to new learning. While it is true my students have many specific needs and IEP goals/obj in this area all children would benefit from direct explicit SEL instruction. This is why Pirate Club is a push in program twice a week for room 15. Through out the 20 years in my SD , I have had children from general ed also join us. However, I have learned that twice a week direct instruction doesn't help much unless the skills are practiced, noticed and reinforced through out the day.
We come into the classroom across the country with varying conditions that impact our ability to learn. SEL skills are important because there are so many inside & outside conditions that our children face & bring with them to school daily that impact learning ( disabilities, anxiety, exposure to violence, inequality, poverty etc.). While it is true many of these conditions need a larger mass of people to address, many teachers can and do make measurable differences daily in their classrooms and SEL is an important feature in that difference.
The Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley is a huge reader friendly resource on SEL and other education related studies. Here
CASEL the Collaborative for Academic, Social Emotional learning is a huge resource for programs, research and interesting articles in this area.
Here is a study published in November in the American Journal of Public Health which suggests that social-emotional skills are a key to doing well in school and avoiding some major problems later in life. In fact, the study even suggests that neglecting these skills could pose a threat to public health and safety.
Another study found that children who participate in social-emotional learning (SEL) programs do better academically.
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