Benefits of Social and Emotional Learning
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Benefits of Social and Emotional Learning

Benefits of Social and Emotional Learning

Numerous studies have shown the benefits of Social and Emotional Learning. Students educated in environments that promote SEL skills show improved academic progress and improved college and career readiness

Social and emotional learning contributes to improved educational outcomes and student well-being by:

  • Helping students know, understand and manage their emotions
  • Understand different perspectives and how to effectively relate to others
  • Make responsible choices and understand the consequences

Social and Emotional Learning helps students better manage their relationships with adults and peers, reduces problems with conduct in the classroom and risk-taking behavior, and has a tangible positive benefit on students' emotional well-being. SEL skills promote responsible decision making later in life. Studies show students who are exposed to SEL programming as children are less likely to behave violently or have a substance abuse disorder later in life.

Instructional Time

Researchers estimate that on average, eight minutes of instructional time is lost to behavior issues during each class. That adds up to approximately one month of lost learning each year. Robust SEL programs are shown to minimize behavior issues and “buy back” instruction.

College Ready

In addition to increased instructional time, strong SEL programs are shown to be associated with increased school attendance and fewer dropouts. Notably, from a policy perspective, SEL programs are associated with significant academic performance improvements.

SEL programs demonstrate comparable or higher academic outcomes than other universal interventions. More specifically a meta-analysis of 213 studies involving more than 270,000 students found that students who received universal SEL programming on average ranked 11 percentile points higher on standardized achievement tests than students who did not receive programming.

Career Ready

According to the US Department of Labor, employers are seeking people with the following SEL skills: problem-solving, self-esteem, self-motivation, goal setting and listening and communication. Further, 12 of the 16 skills identified by the world economic forum as crucial for the 21st-century workplace are categorized as social and emotional skills. SEL prepares students to enter the workforce, essentially increasing employability. Each of the skills identified above are encompassed by the five core skills outlined in the MPS SEL framework. This means that students who attend schools with comprehensive SEL programs receive direct instruction in these areas and have the opportunity to practice these skills both in and outside of the classroom.

Life Ready

SEL results in a variety of improved life outcomes. Most studies conclude that students who participate in strong SEL programs exhibit healthier behaviors. Several studies note much deeper health impacts than improved in-school behavior such as improved physical health and a reduced likelihood of substance abuse disorders, as well as a reduced likelihood of demonstrating violent behavior. This shows that SEL as both a universal and tiered support can be used to improve students overall quality of life.