Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the “process 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” (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, 2020). In other words, tapping into and improving our social-emotional skills allows us to be more effective personally and interpersonally, whether we are a child or an adult.

The 5 SEL Core Competencies (CASEL 2020) that we focus on include:

  1. Self-Awareness: Ability to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts.
  2. Self-Management: Ability to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations.
  3. Social Awareness: The ability to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, & contexts.
  4. Relationship Management: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups.
  5. Responsible Decision Making: The ability to make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations.

You can see that each of these competencies is important in and of themselves. But when collectively applied, they give us the opportunity to operate at a more optimal and effective level. While we actively teach SEL to students, it is also important for us as adults to focus on strengthening these competencies ourselves. We believe refining our SEL skills only helps us to become more effective in life and as we model for and serve students. SEL skills are life skills and they tie directly to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which is foundational for Leader in Me schools. See the chart above to explore how the 7 Habits tie to SEL.