You might think that the politically charged attacks against social-emotional learning highlighted in the news media would be chipping away at educator support nationwide for the approach.
But, so far, that appears not to be the case, according to recent survey data from the EdWeek Research Center. More than a third of the teachers, principals, and district leaders surveyed said social-emotional learning, or SEL, was one of many strategies available to them; more than a quarter said it was a transformational way to improve schools; and almost a quarter said it was a promising idea. Just 9 percent said it was a passing fad.
It’s important to remember that social-emotional learning differs from providing mental health services. SEL teaches skills such as emotional regulation, empathy, and collaboration to help students develop into well-rounded, confident people who can work well with others. It does not provide diagnostic or clinical treatment for mental health conditions.
But some school district SEL programs have run up against intense opposition from parents and politicians, who take issue with how SEL development is being linked to learning about racism, sexism, and LGBTQ issues.
Even so, as the following charts show, support for SEL among educators remains strong across the country and is seen by many as a strategy that will also help improve academic performance.
Data analysis for this article was provided by the EdWeek Research Center. Learn more about the center’s work.
Coverage of leadership, summer learning, social and emotional learning, arts learning, and afterschool is supported in part by a grant from The Wallace Foundation, at www.wallacefoundation.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.
A version of this article appeared in the November 16, 2022 edition of Education Week as How Educators View Social-Emotional Learning, in Charts