Social Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning (SEL) involves the processes 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.

A growing body of research indicates that school-based efforts to promote students' social and emotional learning represent an effective approach to enhance children's success in school and life.

SEL improves students' positive behavior and reduces negative behaviors.

SEL promotes young people's academic success, health, and well-being at the same time that it prevents a variety of problems such as alcohol and drug use, violence, truancy, and bullying. A large body of scientific research has determined that effective SEL in schools significantly improves students'

  • Social-emotional skills
  • Attitudes about self and others
  • Social interactions

SEL also is associated with significant improvements in students' academic performance and attitudes toward school.

A landmark review ( found that students who receive SEL instruction had more positive attitudes about school and improved their scores on standardized achievement tests by 11 percentile points more, on average, than students who did not receive such instruction.

SEL prepares young people for success in adulthood.

SEL helps students become good communicators, cooperative members of a team, effective leaders, and caring, concerned members of their communities. It teaches them how to set and achieve goals and how to persist in the face of challenges. These are precisely the skills that today's employers consider important for the workforce of the future.


Durlak, J. A., & Weissberg, R. P. (2007). The impact of after-school programs that promote personal and social skills. Chicago, IL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students' social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of schoolbased universal interventions. Child Development, 82, 405-432.