- As schools seed SEL skills across curricula, educators may want to focus on parents, helping them understand the value for teaching these tools in the classroom, Sheldon Berman, lead superintendent for social-emotional learning at AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO of Learning Policy Institute, write in a blog for LPI, citing a study from the Fordham Institute.
- One key takeaway: When speaking with parents, focus on the specific skills SEL imparts and how these tools can boost academic growth — rather than using vague language. Educators can also explain SEL is not taking time away from academics or educational growth, but is integrated into curricula.
- While parents may see SEL as helpful to their child’s social and emotional success, they may require assurances these tools can enrich, rather than encroach upon, educational learning. Doing so may help educators garner more support for embedding SEL throughout the school day.
Social-emotional learning skills are helpful in facilitating classroom interaction between students and educators, and they offer additional benefits once students leave school and move forward in their careers. Soft skills including empathy, active listening and social awareness are in high demand amid a more collaborative and global job market.
SEL skills can be woven across K-12 curricula, and taught in-person or remotely, as they were during pandemic school closures in 2020 and 2021. Demand for candidates stronger in these skills has also led higher ed to increase focus on ways students can strengthen them.
At their core, SEL skills are crucial in helping people engage in thoughtful and reasonable discourse, enabling them to show respect and understanding to those from different backgrounds or with different viewpoints than their own.
In school, SEL can help students adopt a growth mindset as they stretch, discover and learn new information and skills while adapting to overcome mistakes and other setbacks. This too can be carried into future workplaces, where employees must successfully address a variety of challenges.