Social Emotional Learning: Critical for Both Teachers & Students

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One of the most oft-neglected—yet vital—components of any education for teachers involves how to incorporate social emotional development into lesson plans. Social emotional learning (SEL) is critical for young students also, as it directly relates to the ability to form positive relationships and make good decisions.

But, what is SEL exactly? According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL is “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

SEL can be broken down into five competencies:

  • Self-management—how one manages their behavior and emotions to achieve goals
  • Self-awareness—how one recognizes their emotions
  • Responsible decision-making—how one makes constructive choices regarding personal behavior and social interaction
  • Relationship skills—how one creates and maintains healthy relationships
  • Social awareness—how one empathizes with others

For more insight, we spoke with the Executive Director of Leadership and Professional Education here at Endicott, Lynne Celli, Ph.D., to get her thoughts on why it is so important for educators to teach social emotional development.

“Social emotional development is critical to a child’s ultimate success in life,” says Dr. Celli. “It is the process through which children learn to experience and express emotion and is it imperative to their ability to develop meaningful relationships throughout their lives. We have found that preparing teachers to work with students on these issues is critical to their overall ability to learn and function well in society.”

Through the course of her research, Dr. Celli has found overwhelming evidence that an SEL education is vitally beneficial to a student’s development. She points to a recent study from Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development that claims, “When children's social and emotional health is compromised, it can create significant challenges for children leading to failure in school, inability to make and sustain friendships, and negative feelings about themselves.”

Dr. Celli has had a 30-year career in pre-K through higher education. Her research interests connect to high quality teaching strategies, student learning styles, and the evolving professoriate. Through her efforts, Endicott College was the first school in the nation to offer a certificate in social emotional development which has now become a full master’s program. The 100% online curriculum is designed for those looking to become better equipped in helping administrative leaders as well as students adapt to the increasingly complex challenges of contemporary society. Business managers, nonprofit personnel, and other professionals looking to build trusted relationships, lead teams, and mentor staff effectively would also benefit from these two programs in social emotional development.

Endicott College student at grade school teaching