Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Social-Emotional Learning helps people develop the fundamental skills for life effectiveness. The Connection Practice® is an easy-to-learn, scientifically-based, social-emotional skill for individuals of all ages that melts away pain and enriches your life.”

Rita Marie Johnson

Social and Emotional Learning skills, such as the Connection Practice, are the skills we all need to effectively and ethically handle ourselves, our relationships, and our work.

A Child’s Key to Success in School and Life

For students to succeed in school, they need to be engaged, interested and excited to be there.

They need to know how to:

  • focus their attention on their work
  • keep trying even when they get discouraged or face setbacks
  • work effectively with other students and adults, and
  • be good communicators and problem-solvers

These skills not only form a foundation for children’s success in school, but in their adult lives, as well!

SEL Skills Include:

  • Recognizing and managing our emotions
  • Developing caring and concern for others (empathy)
  • Establishing positive relationships
  • Making responsible decisions
  • Handling challenging situations constructively and ethically

It is this set of skills that allow children to calm themselves when they are angry, effectively make friends, resolve conflicts respectfully, and make both safe and ethical decisions.

Socially and Emotionally Competent People are Skilled in Six Core Areas:

  • Self-awareness: able to recognize their emotions, describe their interests and values, and accurately assess their strengths; self-confident and hopeful for the future.
  • Emotional regulation: able to manage stress, control impulses and persevere in overcoming challenges or stumbling blocks
  • Goal setting: able to set and monitor progress toward the achievement of personal and academic goals, and to appropriately express their emotions in a wide variety of situations.
  • Social awareness: able to take the perspective of, and empathize, with others as well as recognize and appreciate individual and group similarities and differences; able to seek out and appropriately use available resources.
  • Good relationship skills: able to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation; can resist inappropriate social pressure; constructively prevent, manage, and resolve interpersonal conflict; seek and provide help when needed.
  • Responsible decision-making: able to consider ethical standards, safety concerns, appropriate social norms, respect for others, and the likely consequences of various courses of action in a variety of circumstances; able to apply these decision-making skills in any situation and motivated to contribute to the well-being of all.

Why is SEL Particularly Important for Children?

Research has revealed that attending to the social and emotional learning of children is a hugely profitable investment in their success in school and their future success as adults.

  • Students who receive SEL programming academically outperform their peers, compared to those who do not receive SEL. This includes:

    • greater motivation to learn and commitment to school

    • increased time devoted to schoolwork and mastery of subject matter

    • improved attendance and graduation rates, and

    • improved grades and test scores.

      • A major multi-year study found: “…by the time students who received SEL in grades K-8 were adults, they had an 11% higher grade-point average, significantly greater levels of school commitment, and a higher attachment to school at age 18.”

  • Not only does effective SEL programming drive academic learning, but it’s also of value in social outcomes such as positive peer relationships, caring and empathy, social engagement and health-related behaviors.

  • Research has not only shown SEL programs produce positive effects in students, but they also prevent negative outcomes. Learning social and emotional skills leads to reductions in problem behavior such as drug use, violence, and delinquency.

    • By age 18, students who received SEL in grades 1-6 showed a 30% lower incidence of school behavior problems, a 20% lower rate of violent delinquency, and a 40% lower rate of heavy alcohol use than their peers.

Early investments in SEL yield long-term dividends. Read some of the research here: