Social-emotional learning is appealing to schools, but adopting the strategy can present some challenges.
The appeal of SEL: By shaping teaching strategies and policies around children’s social and emotional development, students will be more effective learners who are better prepared for the challenges of a changing work force when they graduate.
But the concept can seem kind of murky, teachers don’t always feel prepared to adopt it, and researchers have raised concerns about how schools measure students’ progress in SEL.
I explain these concepts quickly here in a video featuring cameo appearances by LeBron James and my Grandma (for real).
Here are some Education Week articles that also dive deeply into the social-emotional learning concepts I explore in this video.
Defining Social-Emotional Learning
One district adopted social-emotional learning through a very deliberate process. They first worked with administrators to set goals and “braid together” duplicative programs, then they worked with schools to define strategies and put it into place.
Preparing Teachers for Social-Emotional Learning
Some teachers complain administrators present social-emotional learning as an add-on or yet another thing they have to do, without giving them buy-in. Some Oakland, Calif., schools have sought to flip the script, allowing teachers to develop their own social-emotional learning strategies through peer-led inquiry.
Measuring Social-Emotional Learning
Researchers warn that surveying students about their own SEL skills is problematic because such measurements are prone to all sorts of biases. Some schools measure related factors—like school climate, attendance, and discipline—instead. And some have designed their own measures to see if their programs are successful. You can learn more about how the Washoe County, Nev., district enlisted its students to help design social-emotional learning measurements in this story.
This explainer video follows another social-emotional learning video, which explored Washoe County’s strategy. Watch that one below.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.