Students go to school to learn academics and skills they will need as they grow up. But students need to be ready to learn. That is why one of the jobs that children have is to learn to manage themselves in a variety of situations. Students often learn how to connect with others in school. As a result, teachers need to provide students the skills to connect with others, making sure everyone has the tools they need to navigate the classroom and the world at large. Social and emotional learning (SEL) has been helpful in achieving those goals—including within our charter elementary, junior, and high schools here in Phoenix, AZ.
What is social and emotional learning?
Social and emotional learning focuses on five major skills that help students cope with stress and anxiety, develop positive social behaviors, and apply problem-solving skills to challenges in and out of the classroom. It’s a method that is most successful with support from parents and the community as a whole.
SEL helps develop:
- Self-management: Being able to manage our behavior is part of growing up, but many students don’t naturally develop the tools they need to do this very effectively. SEL self-management skills include impulse control, stress management, and perseverance to achieve their identified goals.
- Social awareness: Social awareness is the practice of developing empathy for others, including those with different home lives, cultures, abilities, disabilities and other differences. Students learn to recognize social norms that are healthy and respectful while finding resources for support.
- Self-awareness: Developing a good sense of self-awareness is invaluable for both children and adults. Being able to identify and articulate your personal goals, emotions, challenges, and values helps students learn to make better choices that are in keeping with their goals.
- Responsible decision-making skills: As students develop better self and social awareness alongside their self-management tools, they’re better equipped to make responsible decisions. SEL focuses on health, ethics, and safety concerns, with an emphasis on evaluating and understanding consequences.
- Relationship and social skills: Finally, SEL teaches students to use these skills to better interact with the people around them by developing communication strategies, collaborating and cooperating and negotiating conflict responsibly.
Why teach SEL?
“Students who feel good, do good.” It sounds simple, but it is true. When students have the skills they need to manage themselves, both in and out of the school setting, students are then able to focus on their academics. Students with good SEL skills go on to have high academic achievement and higher life satisfaction.
Schools that put an emphasis on social and emotional learning see an increase in positive attitudes, decreased depression and anxiety, reduced conflict and risky behavior, and increased academic performance. Students respond well to SEL because it gives them connection to the people in their school environment, the emotional and social tools they need to handle their actual coursework, and the ability to quickly respond to social situations with confidence—and the results are striking, from graduation rates straight through post-secondary career and social success.
How to use SEL
Studies show that SEL is most successful when teachers can deliver specific lessons about these skills, then refer back to them throughout the day. SEL is appropriate at all grade levels, and achieves greater results when schools adopt policies and procedures that keep these social and emotional tools in mind.
Charter elementary, middle, and high schools in Phoenix, AZ
If you’re interested in seeing how Pointe Schools implements social and emotional learning, schedule an appointment to visit our charter elementary, middle, and high schools in Phoenix, AZ. We place an emphasis on character and leadership as well as academics, ensuring our students’ lifetime success. Reach out to us today to learn more.