SEL- What is SEL?

  • Anagha Vallikat
    Anagha Vallikat
“Increasing the state of one’s mind is the way to succeed in life.”

Methods of teaching and learning have evolved over the years. From a textbook-centered, syllabus-oriented, teacher-centric approach, we have now come to a more inclusive pattern where students are taught about the values and skills that are essential in life. It is rightly said that education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire. It is important to teach students what counts in life and prepare them for real-life scenarios. SEL stands for Social-Emotional Learning. Mental health is of utmost importance in today’s world and SEL helps to strengthen social skills and emotional wellbeing.

This blog will talk in detail about SEL and the benefits of SEL.

What is SEL and What are the Benefits of SEL

SEL is a process through which students are taught to apply their skills effectively to manage their emotions and make the best out of given situations.

A lot of schools have already implemented an SEL approach and studies show that having a good SEL approach in place helps to improve the learning standards and can make a real difference in student behavior. Let us take a look at the benefits of SEL in detail:

1.Helps to establish a positive atmosphere

With various SEL activities, teachers create an atmosphere that is pleasing and calming. This will help to take off any fear associated with the classroom and learning. SEL activities can be anything from starting the day with asking children how they feel to picking emotion tickets and likewise. It is up to the teacher to use various techniques and include different activities in the classroom.

2.Improves critical thinking and problem-solving skills

One of the best benefits of SEL is that it focuses largely on solving problems and overcoming real-life situations or conflicts. When students are given an idea about such situations in prior, they won't panic when they are faced with a sudden conflict or problem. Teaching the students good touch and bad touch is also a part of SEL training. This way, they know what to expect and have an idea about the world that they are a part of. It helps to improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

3.Focuses on mental health

As mentioned, in today’s world, mental health is extremely important. SEL helps to remove the taboo around mental health and destigmatize the topic. Students go through an array of emotions and more often than not they don’t know how to deal with these and a proper SEL approach will help them to be vocal about their emotions. This in turn will help them destress and become focused. Teacher can incorporate SEL activities in online classrooms as well.

4.Increases teamwork

Various SEL activities require students to talk about their experiences and work in teams. This will help students to connect with each other. There might be shared experiences and similar stories, this will help students to work better together and increase their performance as teams. Social skills are important to perform well in life and SEL practices help to improve just that.

5.Better academic performance

Students learn better when they feel happy and motivated. Since SEL practices help to create a positive atmosphere and encourage students to perform better at academics. SEL helps students to get better at organizing and planning and these are crucial to perform well in studies.

6.Creates a sense of belonging

When students and teachers talk to each other and the classroom becomes a platform for dialogues and expressions, the students feel safe. This is very important to improve school discipline and to increase student engagement. In addition to this, when students learn to manage their emotions and thoughts, the classroom becomes more vibrant.

Components of SEL

SEL has five major components and they have been listed below. All activities related to SEL are intended to improve the following.

1.Self Awareness

To help students understand their own thoughts and feelings and channel these make positive changes.

2.Self Management

After being aware of what they feel, it is important to be able to control these thoughts and emotions and SEL helps students to help manage the emotions. It teaches them how not to let emotions control them.

3.Interpersonal Skills

SEL talks about how to maintain healthy relationships and how to improve communication and interpersonal skills. It is a major component of the SEL  approach.

4.Social Awareness

Students need to be aware of their surroundings and the society that they belong to and SEL teaches them about the same.

5.Decision Making Skills

By making students socially and emotionally aware, the SEL approach enables and empowers students to be able to make decisions and stand strong when faced with issues and problems.

The SEL approach has many benefits and the main benefits of SEL have been listed above. It is important for schools and other educational institutions to understand that the students need knowledge and skills that go beyond the curriculum and syllabus. They need to be socially responsible and aware to be able to stand on their own and make important decisions. Student motivation is extremely important to ensure student success. Teachers should employ various teaching methods and strategies to ensure that their classroom is a safe space for learning.