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What Is Social Emotional Learning (SEL) And Why Should Schools Care?



Kids Learning


The Need for SEL in Today's Education


In today's society, the imperative for robust social-emotional learning within school districts is evident. Today's youth grapple with a myriad of challenges, from cyberbullying and online privacy issues to inappropriate content and online predators. Meeting these needs goes beyond imparting digital literacy; it necessitates a focus on social-emotional learning.


Understanding Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)


Within the educational context, SEL is seamlessly integrated into curricula to equip students with life skills beyond academic knowledge. It concentrates on nurturing emotional well-being, social skills, and ethical understanding. The ultimate goal is to cultivate a positive and supportive learning environment. SEL programs encompass self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.


The Significance of SEL


The emphasis on nurturing emotional well-being, social skills, and ethical understanding transcends the realms of academics. Learning social skills equips students to collaborate effectively and communicate proficiently. Acquiring ethical understanding lays the foundation for moral reasoning, values, empathy, integrity, and crucially, respect for others and oneself.


Education extends beyond the confines of subjects like math, science, or literature. It is a lifelong pursuit, a journey that persists beyond the distribution of diplomas and is not restricted by the physical boundaries of school walls. Education, at its core, is about life—teaching not just what to think but how to think.


A Well-Rounded Education


A well-rounded education builds a solid foundation not only on math and science but also on the arts. An ideal student appreciates the value of Newton and Einstein, just as they do with Beethoven and Picasso. Social-emotional learning is an extension of this educational roadmap, delving into the essence of humanity. It allows students to explore their passions, grapple with difficult problems, and, most importantly, understand themselves and others.


The Essence of Social-Emotional Learning


Social-emotional learning is an exploration of reactions, thoughts, and behaviors. It goes beyond observable facts, delving into inherent values. It is about understanding why we react the way we do and fostering thoughtful reflection on the interplay of thoughts and actions.


The Universal Benefits of SEL


I firmly believe that all students stand to gain from a social-emotional learning curriculum. In the realm of Social Work, the belief that nothing happens in a vacuum underscores the interconnected nature of our lives. SEL provides students with the opportunity to pause and reflect on how external influences affect them and how they want to respond.


Aristotle's Wisdom in SEL


Aristotle's timeless wisdom, "knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom," encapsulates the goal of educational systems. Social-emotional learning offers the chance to instill wisdom in students—a wisdom that extends beyond memorized facts to a profound understanding of oneself.


In essence, social-emotional learning is a powerful tool that propels education toward creating a wise student population—one that navigates the intricacies of life with self-awareness, empathy, and a deep understanding of the world around them.




Connor Cohen

Connor joined the Cyber Civics team in 2023 with experience in both social work and marketing. In 2020 he earned his LMSW in Texas where he worked as a therapist in a private practice. He made the switch from direct practice to marketing and worked with therapists to help market the profession and practice. Connor now works for Cyber Civics and Cyberwise. After earning his Bachelors in English, Political Science and Counseling from the University of North Texas, he went on to receive his Masters in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. Continuing his studies, he earned a certificate in Digital Marketing from the University of Texas in 2022.

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