Throughout these years we have seen the school authorities and parents working to find out the best policies for providing learners with effective academic understanding. However, in the journey called life, only knowledge gained from books and guides is not enough. Possessing and practicing a set of skills like communication, active listening, leadership, and emotional intelligence is equally important. Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an educational idea that helps students to identify their capabilities, and gain skills for their social, personal, and professional success respectively. It allows learners to know what life is all about, and what needs to be done to form a strong social community.
The pandemic times have been quite challenging for learners of all age groups. The sudden shift from offline to online learning and again coming to schools after a two-year gap has affected the academic performance and mental health of students. To support them, and contribute to their holistic growth and development, social-emotional learning programs and activities should be conducted in schools. Let us now discuss its importance in detail.
Four Elements of Social-Emotional Learning
1.Self-awareness: It is a type of skill that helps learners to have a deep understanding of their own self. Where their interest lies, what behavioral traits they carry, with whom they can bond, and what they are passionate about, all these questions get answered with the help of self-awareness. Students get to know about their strengths and weaknesses. They get the ability to identify their purpose of learning, face obstacles, overcome them, and reach their goals respectively.
2. Social awareness: for academic and professional development, having strong social skills is the need of the hour. Social-emotional learning helps students to connect with others, understand different personalities, social norms, and form strong connections. Students start interacting with others which broadens their knowledge. Compassion, empathy, emotions, mutual respect, and considering the perspectives of others are some other benefits that come along with social awareness.
3. Relationship management: Creating and maintaining strong relationships is the key element of social and emotional learning concepts. This includes communicating clearly, listening to each other attentively, co-operate, working collaboratively, providing leadership, and seeking or giving help whenever needed. Social-emotional learning activities like group discussions, think pair share, and debates, can be conducted to allow students to work in groups, experience different opinions, and content, and connect better.
4. Self-management- social and emotional learning what is SEL teaches learners self-management. This includes the ability to control one's emotions, behavior, and impulses. Students should know how to survive in different settings and adapt to the environment they are living in. Such students grow quite well professionally as they know how to adapt, respond to a change, and stick to commitments respectively.
Importance of social and emotional learning for students
- Improves self-knowledge
As discussed above, self-awareness is the key element of sel. It helps learners to get to know about their strengths, weaknesses, passion, hobbies, and more. This allows learners to work on their weaker sections, become a better version of themselves and achieve their goals and objectives. This also makes students more confident, straightforward, and efficient at work.
- Improved communication skills
By interacting with different social groups, students' communication skills are enhanced to a great extent. Good speakers and listeners not only perform effectively in academics but also reach greater heights of success in their professional careers. Fluent communication skills allow learners to express themselves effectively, understand the matter or topic, come out with quality solutions to problems, and form strong interpersonal connections with others.
- Positive approach
Facing challenges, stress, and pressure is common for all of us these days. A little amount of stress is fine to stay on your toes and give your best but immense negativity and pressure can affect one's physical and mental health. Social and emotional learning teaches students to develop a positive thinking approach. Instead of feeling stressed and overthinking, one should learn from their mistakes and keep trying. A positive mind approach improves students' performance in all aspects. Meditation is one of the best activities to be done in this regard.
- Better problem-solving and decision making
With social learning and emotional intelligence, students can also improve their problem-solving skills. Self-knowledge helps students to differentiate between right and wrong, and select the correct path for themselves respectively. Also, they learn how to work in groups, value the perspective of other people, think practically, and come up with the best solutions and approaches. This helps students in their professional journey when they have to work in teams and provide the best services to the clients.
To make students successful in each phase of their life, all schools must opt for social and emotional learning activities. It is one of the strongest tools to help students learn about emotional intelligence and the skills needed to live an effective everyday life. By reading the above-mentioned information, we can make out its importance for the learners. Not only classroom growth but also progress in interacting with different social groups is guaranteed by social and emotional learning activities in schools. Group discussions, sports, inter and intra-school competitions, field trips, and seminars can be conducted in this regard.
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