SEL 101: What are the core competencies and key setting
Research confirms and teachers, parents, and principals agree: Social and emotional competencies can be taught, modeled, and practiced and lead to positive student outcomes that are important for success in school and in life.
Decades of research studies demonstrate the following benefits of SEL:
Improvement in students’ social and emotional skills, attitudes, relationships, academic performance, and perceptions of classroom and school climate
Decline in students’ anxiety, behavior problems, and substance use
Long-term improvements in students’ skills, attitudes, prosocial behavior, and academic performance
Wise financial investment according to cost-benefit research
Learn more about CASEL’s research-practice-policy partnership approaches that advance ways that SEL supports equitable learning environments and optimal developmental outcomes for diverse children, adolescents, and adults.
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The CASEL 5. The CASEL 5 addresses five broad and interrelated areas of competence and highlights illustrative examples for each: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. The CASEL 5 can be taught and applied at various developmental stages from childhood to adulthood and across diverse cultural contexts. Many school districts, states, and countries have used the CASEL 5 to establish preschool to high school learning standards and competencies that articulate what students should know and be able to do for academic success, school and civic engagement, health and wellness, and fulfilling careers.
Key Settings. CASEL’s framework takes a systemic approach that emphasizes the importance of establishing equitable learning environments and coordinating practices across key settings of classrooms, schools, families, and communities to enhance all students’ social, emotional, and academic learning. Quality implementation of well-designed, evidence-based, classroom programs and practices is a foundational element of effective SEL. We believe it is most beneficial to integrate SEL throughout the school’s academic curricula and culture, across the broader contexts of schoolwide practices and policies, and through ongoing collaboration with families and community organizations. These coordinated efforts should foster youth voice, agency and engagement, establish supportive classroom and school climates and models of discipline, enhance adult SEL competence, and be grounded in authentic family and community partnerships.
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To be most effective, it is essential that states, regions, districts, and schools infuse the principles of SEL across practices and policies such as curriculum and instruction, extra-curricular activities, discipline, student-support services, professional learning, and ongoing assessment for continuous improvement.
CASEL’s Theory of Action at the state, district, and school level addresses four key elements that are necessary to comprehensively support quality SEL implementation throughout the system:
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