Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
Social emotional learning (SEL) is a concept introduced by The Collaborative Association of Social Emotional Learning (CASEL), an organisation based in the United States, and defined as the development of 5 major competence areas, all of which can be further broken down to more basic social/emotional skills:
Self-awareness and self-management
The first 2 competences are about knowing and managing ourselves. Self awareness means that we can recognise our emotions, needs and motivations, we find out what our strengths and weaknesses are. By knowing ourselves we can develop a well-grounded sense of self-confidence.
Self-management means that not only do we know ourselves, we can also manage/regulate our emotions, and also our behaviour, we can express our needs in an assertive way, we can set goals that are in line with our strengths and can be resilient in case we face challenges, we take responsibility for our own behaviour and our well-being.
Social awareness and relationship skills
The next 2 competences are about the perception and „management“ of others. Social awareness means that we have empathy towards others, we recognise their feelings, their needs and concerns, can understand their situations, we are able to take their perspective.
By developing relationship skills, we are able to initiate and maintain rewarding interpersonal relationships, we can communicate efficiently, cooperate with others, we can tackle conflicts, we can help others and can seek help from them when needed.
Responsible decision making
Lastly, responsible decision making means that while working towards our goals and interacting with others we take into account our own and other people's well-being, we adhere to the social norms and behave ethically.
Other concepts relevant to SEL
OECD and EU regulations, communications, policy and research papers highlight skills and competences closely related to SEL that are important for one’s success in school, in the labour market and as a member of society. The concepts of key competences (especially social and civic competences), transversal skills, and 21st century skills all cover important aspects of SEL.
Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco