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Importance of SEL

Why is Social and Emotional Learning important?

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) helps youth acquire and 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. Social and emotional skill building can have a positive impact on school climate, help students become good learners, and prevent or reduce many risky behaviors, including drug use, violence, bullying and dropping out.

Durlak, Weissberg et al.'s 2011 analysis of 213 studies that focused on SEL in schools indicates that students receiving quality SEL instruction demonstrated:

  • better academic performance: achievement scores an average of 11 percentile points higher than students who did not receive SEL instruction;
  • improved attitudes and behaviors: greater motivation to learn, deeper commitment to school, increased time devoted to schoolwork, and better classroom behavior;
  • fewer negative behaviors: decreased disruptive class behavior, noncompliance, aggression, delinquent acts, and disciplinary referrals; and
  • reduced emotional distress: fewer reports of student depression, anxiety, stress, and social withdrawal.
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