In the present day and age, the academic curriculum is highly focussed on academic excellence and achieving academic success. While academic excellence is undoubtedly important, it is crucial to realise that social-emotional learning is just as important in a student’s life. Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is gaining increasing recognition in the education system as it helps in the holistic growth of the student. The need for social-emotional learning for students has become more pressing than ever before.
Social-emotional learning focusses on five major competencies- self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. The development of these competencies enables students to understand and manage their emotions, develop positive relationships, and make appropriate choices. SEL is not a trendy alternative to academic learning but an equitable and effective approach to enhance academic learning and support the social and emotional growth of students.
Without SEL, students find it challenging to cope with the everyday stresses of life. They struggle to manage their emotions, leading to frustration and burnout. As well, students need to learn how to deal with negative emotions like fear, anger, sadness, and stress to lead a healthy life. Specific SEL programs are designed to teach students how to manage their emotions effectively, which is essential in creating a positive learning environment.
Besides benefiting individuals, SEL also improves the effectiveness of the normal school activities. SEL programs focus on building strong relationships between students and their peers and teachers. Students who develop social skills through SEL programs are better equipped to communicate, collaborate, resolve conflicts, and work positively in a team. Good communication and collaboration skills are mandatory for success in every aspect of life, and SEL programs are effective in imparting these skills to students.
Furthermore, a report published by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) states that students who participate in a comprehensive SEL program showed an 11% increase in academic achievement than students who did not. SEL provides students with a sense of purpose and motivation required for academic success. When students feel secure, comfortable, and supported in their environment, they are more engaged and motivated to learn. Therefore, there is a need for SEL in academic institutions to create a positive school culture where students feel empowered, supported, and heard.
In conclusion, SEL programs play an instrumental role in the emotional development of students. The development of social and emotional competencies is necessary as it impacts a student’s growth in all aspects of life, including academic achievement. SEL programs foster an optimum environment for learning and create successful individuals who are confident, self-aware, and understand their emotions. Hence, there is an urgent need for SEL programs to be introduced into high schools and universities for the complete development of students.