What’s the Deal with SEL?
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a term for teaching life skills, coping strategies, and emotional awareness to students in a school setting. It’s a relatively new trend to incorporate SEL into students’ educational experiences, but the trend is growing rapidly. Though the implementation of SEL is still novel, research on the subject has been conducted for a number of years. It has been found that students who participated in SEL at the school setting saw an increase of 11 percentile points in academic achievement, attendance, and overall growth in the five key skills of SEL (Durlak et al., 2011).
The five key skills of SEL include: Self-management, Self-awareness, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-making. Students are taught these skills on a weekly basis and then have the opportunity to use these skills in their classes and at home. The main goal of SEL is to assist students in knowing their own needs, understanding the needs of others, and making choices to best suit those shared needs over the course of their lives.
At Brighthouse Learning Center (BLC), our students benefit from learning SEL skills through their weekly class offered by BLC’s in-house Licensed Professional Counselor, Bethanie Simon. Class topics include anger management, goal setting, career education, emotional identification and awareness, relationship and communication skills, and much more. Students learn each skill through engaging activities, individual and team work, and reflective exercises. Teachers assist students with learning skills, and then utilize them in the classroom and beyond. Caregivers are sent weekly updates of material covered so that they can continue the use of these skills with their students at home.
Not only do students improve in academic and emotional areas, but research has also shown a decrease in behavior problems, anxiety, and substance abuse in students that engage in SEL (Durlak et al., 2011). Additionally, students are able to exhibit better self-control, empathy, and problem-solving over the long-haul.
With all of these benefits recognized for the implementation of SEL in the classroom, it was a no brainer to make this a primary objective at Brighthouse Learning Center. We aim to not only meet the academic needs of our students, but to also prioritize their social and emotional needs. We truly believe that a well-balanced and emotionally aware student has the best chance to succeed in anything they want to achieve!