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The Research Behind Social Emotional Learning


Over the past several years, social emotional learning (SEL) has come under fire in school districts across the country. Yet the research shows that the positive impact of SEL programs continues throughout the life of the student. Social emotional learning programs are as crucial to the education of a child as are math and reading.

Students Who Participate in SEL Perform Better Academically and Socially

A Yale School of Medicine meta study revealed that students who participate in social emotional learning programs in their schools perform better academically and have more success socially than their peers who do not have access to SEL. According to the report, "Students also showed improved social and emotional skills, attitudes, and behaviors, such as student self-efficacy, self-esteem, mindset, perseverance, and optimism, among others." The students participating in SEL programs also experienced "less anxiety, stress, depression, and suicidal thoughts" and "had better relationships with peers and teachers."

Social Emotional Learning Contributes Significantly to Better Mental Health

Students who learn to adequately recognize, express, and manage their feelings have better mental health and wellbeing. CASEL explains: "While SEL does not replace the need for mental health interventions for students who need it, SEL can cultivate important 'protective factors' – caring relationships, safe and supportive environments, social and emotional skills – that buffer against mental health risks."

Social Emotional Learning Programs Have a Lifelong Impact

The long-term impact for students who participate in social emotional learning programs is profound. Long-term benefits of SEL include:

  • Improved high school graduation rates
  • Increased college acceptance rates
  • Greater professional opportunities
  • Better mental health throughout life

For so many reasons, social emotional learning programs are essential investments, not just for the student but for the district and community as well. Several studies have demonstrated the ROI of investing in SEL programs. This should not be a political issue but, instead, one of educational merit.

In addition, social emotional learning contributes to better overall career readiness for students on IEPs. Research also shows that having access to SEL in school can reduce the likelihood of delinquency and arrest.

School Day is the best K-12 solution for measuring and managing student wellbeing and social emotional skills and the best means for district leaders and teachers to proactively model wellbeing in the classroom, thereby improving learning results. School Day asks students weekly questions that focus on learning, social relationships, and health. The data is analyzed, furnishing real-time insight, and highlighting what's going well; resources are provided for the areas that need more attention. Request a quote for your school today!

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