Why Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a Post-Pandemic Necessity
The past year has brought to light how unpredictable life can be. Learning to social distance and shelter-in-place have forced us away from nurturing our human desire to be social creatures. Racial injustices that have continued for centuries are finally receiving deserved attention and action. As adults, our feelings and emotions resulting from these experiences are hard to endure, understand, and manage. So what about our children? How are they managing their feelings and emotions during this strange season of life? Here are 5 reasons you and your kids need social emotional learning (SEL) in your lives right now:
- SEL is trauma-informed learning. It helps the learner understand they belong to a larger community that is supportive of their individual learning needs. This helps us understand, respect, and honor our relationships with ourselves and with others.
- The ability of adults to embrace SEL competencies themselves, while also providing safe spaces and environments are crucial to allowing kids to feel supported and thrive.
- SEL helps fill the gaps in educational inequalities due to school closures and other traumatic events. Everyone experiences trauma of varying degrees, and many choose to suffer in silence. Giving learners tools that help them identify, accept, and manage strong feelings and emotions creates opportunity for academic learning to be the focus.
- SEL builds positive, healthy relationships. It helps learners establish and accept each person's unique identity, and gives everyone a voice. SEL skills help establish the foundation for a lifetime of healthy relationships.
- SEL supports and strengthens not only individuals, but communities as a whole. SEL recognizes that every person is unique and what they have to say and contribute to the community is important and will make our communities stronger. SEL supports the idea that we are interconnected, supportive beings.
What our children (and the world) needs now is more love, positivity, empathy, and compassion. We can collectively achieve this through social emotional learning, or SEL. SEL allows us to build the skills required to better understand and manage our emotions so that we may live our best lives. These skills help us increase our self-awareness, self-management, and social-awareness. They also assist us in building stronger relationships, and helping us make more responsible decisions. Establishing an environment where an individual's social emotional needs are considered first creates an unobstructed foundation for teaching and learning.
Learning is optimized when we feel safe, seen, and accepted.