Why All the Hype Surrounding Social Emotional Learning (SEL)?

The following series of blogs will take you down a path, which by the end, will most likely have you looking for SEL programs for your children and perhaps, even yourself!  Of course, every journey needs a starting place.  Today’s blog will take you back to ‘where it all began’. 

Well…it was a long, long time ago in a far away land when …. No, actually, it wasn’t really that long ago, but sometimes history can be perceived as boring so I thought I would add some ‘jazz’.  The importance of SEL was established in 1994 when a group of educators collaborated to discuss the needs of their students that were being overlooked within the regular school curriculum (Oberle & Schonert-Reichl, 2017).  Of course, there was an agreement that the basics were important, but they recognized that successful outcomes seemed to be linked to something more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic.  A collective agreement emerged that emotional intelligence was a missing, yet essential, piece of learning information.  They identified the need for students to know and understand their own emotions, manage their emotions, know and understand the emotions of others, develop empathy for others, and make responsible decisions.  It was from this collaborative meeting that the term, social emotional learning was birthed.  Following this ‘aha’ meeting, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) was established as a foundation for the dissemination and research regarding the importance of SEL and the implementation of evidence-based SEL programs in school curricula.  One year later, in 1995, Daniel Goleman popularized the concept of emotional intelligence by publishing a book that exposed the link between emotions, thoughts, and actions.

Since that time, many studies have exposed the merits of strong SEL capacities, which led to the development of SEL school programs.  Likewise, the positive results of students participating in SEL programs is quite overwhelming!  In fact, I get so excited by this information that I would love to share it with you now, but then you wouldn’t need to come back next week to read my blog….. so I will leave you in suspense!  I look forward to continuing our path to discovering the hype surrounding SEL.