- Self-awareness: Know your strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”
- Self-management: Effectively manage stress, control impulses, and motivate yourself to set and achieve goals.
- Social awareness: Understand the perspectives of others and empathize with them, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
- Relationship skills: Communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.
- Responsible decision-making: Make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety, and social norms. SEL programs improve students’ social-emotional skills, attitudes about self and others, connection to school, positive social behavior, and academic performance; they also reduce students’ conduct problems and emotional distress.
The Every School Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) is a federal law that calls for a well-rounded (whole child) education and a shifting away from the narrow focus on academics. Under ESSA, teachers go beyond academics to cultivate positive student attitudes, values, and habits. Inter- and intra-personal (or, “social and emotional”) competencies include attitudes and behaviors that affect how students reflect on and apply their learning capacities and skills relative to managing relationships with others. These skills are sometimes referred to as 21st-century skills, deeper learning, non-academic, non-cognitive, or soft skills. “Social and emotional learning (SEL) is 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.“– The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).