Social-Emotional Learning

Social-Emotional Learning has been defined by CASEL as “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”  Essentially, it is the process through which we come to understand emotions and learn how to manage them in order to accomplish our individual goals in all aspects of life. 

Often this learning comes gradually as we learn to observe others and recognize emotions in them and ourselves. Once we come to understand emotions, we are then able to recognize the consequences of allowing our emotions to control us.  This sensitivity can be acquired anywhere, although there are many opportunities online and in some communities to take classes which are focused specifically on social-emotional development.

There are seven parts to social-emotional learning.  First, empathy, or the ability to recognize and understand the feelings of others.  Next, an individual ought to learn impulse control.  In other words, they shouldn’t let their emotions make decisions for them.  Learn to calm yourself down before you react.  Similarly, the next step is emotion management, or learning to not only control reactions but to be able to control how you feel in general.  This can take a lifetime to perfectly achieve, but continued progress in the right direction is extremely important.

Fourth is emotion recognition.  Knowing how to recognize the emotions of other people enables an individual to take control of a room when doing such things as presenting information or making an argument.  This along with the fifth attribute, communication, allows people to develop strong and lasting relationships.  When you understand how people are feeling you can better know how to communicate with them in a sensitive and effective manner.

This allows you to better fulfill the next attribute, assertiveness.  Being assertive while also being empathetic to other people’s feelings allows you to get what you want while keeping everyone else happy.  It’s a critical skill to gain for any environment or career. 

The final part is problem solving.  Being able to properly organize yourself and critically think about things, including the feelings of others, allows you to solve problems.  Such a skill can place an individual above others within the work others in the work place as well as in academic environments.

Social-emotional learning is extremely important when striving to lead a successful life.  There is scientific evidence that shows a positive correlation between a person’s social-emotional development and success in academics, positive behavior, and healthier life choices.  If you or your child seem to struggle with any of the above attributes, see what the internet, as well as your community, have to offer. 


McGraw-Hill. (2017, September 25). 5 Guiding Principles of Social and Emotional Learning. Retrieved from

Social-Emotional Learning | What is SEL? (n.d.). Retrieved from

What is SEL? (n.d.). Retrieved from