Educating the Whole Child: Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

Educating the Whole Child: Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

Denise Hexom (National University, USA) and Shaila Mulholland (National University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1753-5.ch012


There is increasing consensus that schools have an important role to play in raising healthy children through teaching and learning of social and emotional skills. The purpose of this chapter is to provide insight for preservice teachers on social emotional learning (SEL): the definition of SEL, research on SEL, effective SEL programs, suggested strategies new teachers can include in their classrooms, and implications for schools of education and professional development. The authors conclude the chapter by discussing five key factors in the development and implementation of SEL initiatives in the setting.
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According to CASEL (2013), social and emotional learning (SEL) involves the processes through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. CASEL has identified five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective, and behavioral competencies. The definitions of the five competency clusters are:

  • Self-Awareness: Ability to accurately recognize ones’ emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior.

  • Self-Management: Ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations.

  • Social-Awareness: Ability to take perspective and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

  • Relationship Skills: Ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups.

  • Responsible Decision Making: Ability to make constructive and respectful choices in personal behavior based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others (CASEL, 2013).

The SEL approach integrates competence-promotion and youth development frameworks for reducing risk factors and fostering protective mechanisms for positive adjustment (Benson, 2006: Catalano, Berglund, Ryan, Lonczak & Hawkins, 2002; Guerra & Bradshaw, 2008; Weissberg, Kumpfer, & Seligman, 2003). Increasingly, politicians, business, and educational leaders are asking schools to teach students the competencies they will need to navigate a changing world known as “21st century skills” (National Research Council, 2012). These 21st century skills, which include problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration, can be organized into domains that overlap with the skills emphasized in the CASEL competencies. These three domains are:

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