Social-Emotional Learning

Social emotional learning is the process through which children and adults acquire the knowledge, attitude, and skills to: 

  • Recognize and manage their emotions
  • Set and achieve positive goals
  • Demonstrate care and concern for others
  • Establish and maintain positive relationships
  • Make responsible decisions
  • Handle interpersonal situations effectively 

These critical social-emotional competencies involve skills that enable students to calm themselves when angry, initiate friendships and resolve conflicts respectfully, make ethical and safe choices, and contribute constructively to their community.


How do social-emotional learning and mindfulness make a greater impact together? When social-emotional learning and mindfulness integrate, the 5 SEL competencies laid out by Casel (LINK) have more fertile ground to flourish in and ultimately be embodied by students:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-management
  3. Social awareness
  4. Relationship skills
  5. Decision making

How does this translate into a positive school culture? 

  • Positive social behavior
  • Positive attitudes
  • Improved self-perception
  • Improved school bonding
  • Decreased number of poor conduct incidents
  • Increased academic performance and achievement tests
  • Improved management of emotional distress
  • Improved school attendance
  • Decreased alcohol and drug usage

Common Core Standards

How does social-emotional learning align with Common Core? 

Common Core Math Standard:
Students make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

Corresponding SEL “self-management” skills:

Possess self-efficacy
Work toward goals
Attention control
Manage personal stress
Regulate emotions such as impulses, aggression, and self-destructive behavior
Seek help when needed
Exhibit positive motivation, hope, and optimism
Display grit, determination, or perseverance

Common Core Verbal Standard:
When constructing viable arguments, students justify their conclusions, communicate them to others, and respond to the arguments of others.

Corresponding SEL “social awareness” and “relationship management” skills:
Respect others (e.g., listen carefully and accurately)
Understand other points of view and perspectives
Identify social cues (verbal, physical) to determine how others feel
Predict others’ feelings and reactions
Manage and express emotions in relationships, respecting diverse viewpoints

Common Core English Language Arts Standard
Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.

Corresponding SEL “self-awareness”, “social awareness”, and “responsible decision-making” skills:
Label and recognize own and others’ emotions
Analyze emotions and how they affect others
Evaluate others’ emotional reactions
Reflect on how current choices affect future

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and link to and cite sources as well as to interact and collaborate with others, including linking to and citing sources.

Corresponding SEL “relationship management” skills
Exhibit cooperative learning and working toward group goals
Communicate effectively
Cultivate relationships with those who can be resources when help is needed
Provide help to those who need it
Demonstrate leadership skills when necessary, being assertive and persuasive
Prevent interpersonal conflict, but manage and resolve it when it does occur