Research has shown that social and emotional development can be fostered, and social and emotional skills, attitudes, and behaviors can be taught using a variety of approaches:
- Free-standing lessons designed to enhance students’ social and emotional competence explicitly.
- Teaching practices such as cooperative learning and project-based learning, which promote SEL.
- Integration of SEL and academic curriculum such as language arts, math, social studies, or health.
- Organizational strategies that promote SEL as a schoolwide initiative that creates a climate and culture conducive to learning.
- Explicit SEL Skills Instruction
- Teacher Instructional Practices
- Integration with Academic Curriculum Areas
- Organizational, Culture, and Climate Strategies
SEL Skill Acquisition:
Five Competence Areas
Self, Others, Learning, and Schools
Enhanced Learning Environment: Supportive, Engaging, and Participatory
Positive Social Behavior
Fewer Conduct Problems
Less Emotional Distress
Improved Academic Performance
Effective SEL approaches often incorporate four elements represented by the acronym SAFE:
- Sequenced: Connected and coordinated activities to foster skills development.
- Active: Active forms of learning to help students master new skills and attitudes.
- Focused: A component that emphasizes developing personal and social skills.
- Explicit: Targeting specific social and emotional skills.
Ideally schools will use SAFE approaches to support the social and emotional development of their students. For example:
- Children can to be taught through modeling and coaching to recognize how they feel or how someone else might be feeling.
- Prompting the use of a conflict-resolution skill and using dialoguing to guide students through the steps can be an effective approach to helping them apply a skill in a new situation.
- Through class meetings students can practice group decision-making and setting classroom rules.
- Students can learn cooperation and teamwork through participation in team sports and games.
- Students can deepen their understanding of a current or historical event by analyzing it through a set of questions based on a problem-solving model.
- Cross-age mentoring, in which a younger student is paired with an older one, can be effective in building self-confidence, a sense of belonging, and enhancing academic skills.
- Having one member of a pair describe a situation to his partner and having the partner repeat what he or she heard is an effective tool in teaching reflective listening.