SEL (social-emotional learning) has found itself in the hotbed of an extremely emotional and political spotlight. What started as an innocent concept revolving around understanding and learning about non-academic elements of a student’s life, has quickly been associated or disassociated with theories, concepts, and practices outside of its scope.
Students spend a mere fraction of their lives within the schools they attend, and success both in and out of school is dependent on multiple factors. Although quality education, which includes social emotional learning or SEL, is an important component in developmental success, it can’t replace benefits children can receive outside of school from certain familial, socioeconomic and social advantages.
The skills that social and emotional learning addresses are those that would otherwise be developed through experience and support outside of the school: self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.
Moving from Reductive Labels to Dynamic Learning Ecosystems in Education
A challenge with a question or some difficulty in a class quickly turns into a sweeping self-generalization, a fixed label about one’s innate aptitude and ability, even their character. Terms like “lazy” and “slacker” come to mind. As a result, a simple question in a class suddenly becomes the terrain for a student’s overall sense of themselves as a person.