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Social-Emotional Learning in Children (SEL)



By Shazia Jiwani

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is described as the process of developing self-awareness, self-management and control, effective and responsible decision making, interpersonal and relationship skills that are vital for carrying out school and life work. Children with strong Social-Emotional skills are better able to cope up with their day-to-day challenges and grow academically, professionally, personally, and socially. In simple terms, Social-Emotional Learning is the process of learning social skills. This learning process is just like learning to read and write numbers. Inculcating Social-Emotional awareness at an early age and helping the child to continue it through their high school and throughout their life is the best gift that parents can give to their children. Social-Emotional Learning provides a framework for developing Emotional Intelligence in children.

The five components of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) are as follows:

  • Self-awareness-the ability to understand your own emotions and how they influence your behaviour
  • Self-management-the ability to manage your own emotions in different settings
  • Social awareness- the ability to understand social norms and empathise with others from diverse backgrounds
  • Relationship skills-the ability to establish and maintain healthy relationships with others through communication
  • Responsible decision making- the ability to make constructive choices about personal behaviour and social interactions

According to various researchers, Social-Emotional Learning and Emotional Intelligence are more important than IQ. Social-Emotional Learning is a huge determinant of an individual’s success and happiness. It involves teaching children different ways to overcome and manage their overwhelming emotions like stress and anxiety. Parents and teachers can inculcate Social-Emotional Learning in their children only when they themselves are socially and emotionally learned. The root of all the emotional health is the parent and the teacher. As Carl Jung has quoted, “if you want to change something in your child, then first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves”.

Children today are forced to face negativity around them with feelings of anxiety, depression and stress. Helping children learn the techniques to manage their emotions is an effective way of preparing them to face life tests and trials and triumph over them, thereby fulfil their real potential.