JBCN School Blog

What Is Social And Emotional Learning?

‘Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st Century — S. J. Perelman
STORY 1: Justin Bieber stated he was stepping back from creating music in an Instagram post to his fans on March 25, 2019. The singer mentioned that he wanted to focus on “repairing some of the deep-rooted issues” he had and to spend more time being the husband and father he wanted to be.
Age: 24. Birthplace: London, Canada

STORY 2: Vera Wang was a figure skater and journalist before entering the fashion industry at age 40. Today she’s one of the world’s premier women’s designers.

STORY 3: Jim Carrey is a famous Oscar nominated and Golden Globe award nominated American actor. His face is symbolic of sunshine, happiness and humour, and endless laughter and slapstick comedy. However, on the flip side, Carrey suffers from depression and has taken Prozac to combat the symptoms. (Wikipedia).
All the 3 stories above are a reminder of the singular fact: the new age is all about adapting to change or ending up withdrawing from life processes.
Change is the only constant. And that this change is happening really fast for the current learner. The young are facing a paradigm shift in the rate of change they face.

Also, the above 3 stories are a reminder of the gamut and multitude of choices available to the citizens of the future. Human mind is known to be at ease and perform at its optimum best only when choices are limited. Every individual immediately faces conflict when posed with options, choices or selection of tasks. Conflict induces stress in varying degrees for different individuals.
The rate of change and the gamut of choices are the biggest boon and bane for the new generation.
The seamless world expects new skills, expects more open-mindedness, more tolerance, and many new skills to be learnt and acquired further on the go, as learners interact with larger and diverse environments.
The aim is preparing to navigate the change successfully in the “New Age”. The new age which is in constant flux, evolving, and strangely sometimes rotating, revolving or simply turning upside down completely.
The world is going to be steered and led by the new age learners. Given the extent and enormity of navigating the new age, it is imperative that young minds are equipped with the skill set necessary for the predicted future. It also entails updating the older skill set which is progressively becoming inadequate, though not obsolete!

Evolution is only human, and it is not just the speed of evolution but the rate and multiplicity of occurrence of this progress which can be overwhelming, or rather is already overwhelming.

Being a better version of ‘YOU’!

Being a better version of YOU!
First and foremost, we need to redefine success as an accomplishment. Many skills are discussed and talked about which are foundation concepts for any and every accomplishment in the new age!
This has become necessary as the competition is waning and achievements are taking priority. Appreciation of individuality and differentiation has taken priority over the older mass definitions of winning in a rat race!
It is now about doing better than your earlier milestones. Being a better version of you! This, however, is plausible, as the new generation is blessed with the innate capacity to focus on self-growth rather than focus on competition. This change has been gradual however more permanent in nature.
The pursuit of being a better version of you has been possible because of the new age focus on KSA’s (knowledge, skills, and abilities).
The definition of accomplishment/success is based on the knowledge, skills, and abilities of an individual.
Alvin Toffler rightly said, “The illiterates of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write… but rather those who cannot learn, unlearn … and relearn.” He was an American writer, futurist, and businessman known for his works discussing modern technologies, including the digital revolution and the communication revolution, with emphasis on their effects on cultures worldwide.

The successful, accomplished individual of the future has been empirically projected as a person, who can navigate the seamless world, with emotional and social context. An individual who can identify his own emotions, thoughts and values while understanding how they influence his behaviour as well as how they influence his or her environment.
The wise, learned and educated know the future holds worth of individuals who will adapt, who will evolve and the individuals who will be able to find solutions and innovate. For the rest of mundane needs humans have already invented gadgets and apps!
This calls the need for SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING.
There has been extensive research and a large body of foundation work already devoted to know more about SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING.
But what exactly is Social Emotional Learning?

Social Emotional Learning is the process of learning social and emotional skills. This learning process is on par with learning reading or numbers. The inculcation of social emotional awareness at an early age and continuing through high school is the most important foundation that parents and school can gift a child.

In the coming future, the development of SOCIAL EMOTIONAL SKILLS will take precedence over many other areas of knowledge. These skills will be grounds to adapt to the incredible progress achieved in every area of knowledge that is explored by us.

The 5 core areas that Social Emotional Learning and Development focus upon are mentioned below.

Social Emotional Learning and Development focus The 5 Core Competencies stress upon the following learning:
  • Self-Awareness: Recognizing feelings as they occur; having a realistic assessment of one’s It is about being conscious of our strengths and especially gaps.
  • Social Awareness: Sensing what others are feeling; being able to take their perspective; appreciating and interacting positively with diverse groups. In essence tolerance. Tolerance entails respect if not necessarily acceptance.
  • Self-Management: Handling emotions so they facilitate rather than interfere with the task at hand; persevering in the face of setbacks.
  • Relationship Skills: Handling emotions in relationships effectively; maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation; negotiating solutions to conflict.
  • Responsible Decision Making: Accurately assessing risks; making decisions based on a consideration of all relevant factors and the likely consequences of alternative courses of actions; respecting others; taking personal responsibility.

Of course these are main areas of exploration leading further to innumerable veins and arteries to be explored and learnt.
In much simplified terms, these five core competencies can be translated as STOP, CALM DOWN, & THINK before you act.
It is absolutely important to work on the Social Emotional Learning foundations of children at home and in school.

Why SEL is a core competency in the coming future?

Social Emotional Learning is a core competency in the coming future as mankind has created and invented a gadget, device or an app for almost most of technical and knowledge based needs. The important process then remains to create individuals with sensitivity to navigate in such endowed systems, without feeling too powerful or at the polar end without feeling disconnected and lonely. That is why awareness of one’s own social and emotional needs and responses and managing them will become very important in dynamic environments.

It is undeniable society at large will be living with this sense of having the world at their fingertips! It is exactly because of this reason that it is necessary to be socially emotionally adjusted to co-exist with many such equally gifted or talented people around oneself.

How will SEL HELP?

Social emotional learnings are essential for school, work and life. Learning social emotional awareness and coping skills:
  • Students learn to manage their own emotions! Be more aware why they are feeling a certain way and more importantly what is making them feel that way?
  • Students learn to have empathy and show care and concern for others around them. Because once they identify their own emotions and behaviours they can identify the same in others and recognize the need of the other person.
  • Students learn to solve problems effectively. They are much less swayed by emotional obstacles in problem solving and enjoy greater success in harnessing their energy to finding solutions, rather than fretting about the problem.
  • Students learn to make responsible decisions. These decisions not only translate to their own self but also transfer to others around them as a helping hand, good friendly advice or just by being aware and sensitive and understanding.
  • Students learn to maintain healthy relationships. They value people more than observable traits and behaviour and appreciate rational and productive outcomes, rather than loss of time, energy or emotion.

Being adjusted emotionally helps students to become more aware of what they are experiencing inside them and then control their impulsive social responses.
Social emotional awareness reduces emotional distress, fewer disciplinary issues, motivates the student to attend school as he adapts and accepts the environment and also results in improved class engagement, test scores and better grades.
Students learn to be more assertive and clear about what they want and are able to communicate effectively to parents, teachers or other adults about their feelings, wants or needs.
It is very easy to enlist the positives that emotionally and socially adjusted children can achieve. What the real pursuit is teaching them these skills and imbibing in them the skills as a way of life, as a part of their KSA’s.


So how can social emotional learning be practiced and taught by parents?SEL in the home means that families can use moments that happen naturally to grow students’ SEL skills. To extend social-emotional learning into the home, families can:
Create avenues for learning in everyday simple interactions and chores and activities. Allowing children to choose their fruits at a vendor, or asking them to pay or reminding them of the effort house help or shopkeepers take and be mindful to thank them.
Anticipate and preview experiences. For example, prepare them to visit hospitals or office spaces or banks. And remind them of do’s and don’ts in anticipation, instead of having to deal with untoward behaviour later.
Talk to them and don’t just ask children a list of questions about routine and day. Share your day first then wait for them to volunteer talking about their day at school
Help them to reflect loudly about their experiences or interactions or actions. Talking often equips them with efficacy to share their feelings rather than bottle them up and face outbursts or crying or tantrums later!
Build up your child. Social-emotional learning is about facilitating your child learn and relate the skills and thoughtfulness needed to be more aware of their feelings and emotions. When your child is struggling with something new, remind them to not worry first. They need to think first, rather than be fearful of worry. The more one to one conversations you have with your children about social-emotional learning, the more relatable that learning becomes.
There is no right or wrong way to journey with your child as they adapt and learn social and emotional skills.
Add to your parenting toolkit with resources such as: Parachute, Confident Parents, Confident Kids, Parent Toolkit etc. These sites are not Indian based sites however do offer lot of suggestions and solutions and support.

How can social emotional learning be a way of life at school?

social emotional learning be a way of life at school Social-emotional learning can happen within schools and classrooms without obvious attempts, rather making it a way of life and school norms. Social-emotional learning can be integrated with the existing academic curricula in literacy, math, and social studies. Importantly, schools should work to creating a conducive climate and culture.
Begin awareness about social and emotional learning skills.
Invite guests and speakers from all walks of life to bring learning of life experiences to the classroom and school.
Celebrate respect and empathy in school, corridors, classrooms and sports arenas.Teachers should role model emotional and social balance in their interactions.Curriculum should be less rote and imposing, and more engaging and provoking critical thinking skills and lateral thinking skills.There should be conscious awareness of being socially and emotionally aware of problems students face to actively reduce bullying and disciplinary incidents.Teach respect for diversity.
Teachers should role model differentiation in teaching and classroom behaviour.The teaching of social emotional skills differs according to the age of the learners. Here are a few examples of activities for teaching social emotional skills to learners of different age groups:
Social-emotional learning activities for preschool: In pre-school, it is the first step to learning to share. First experience to learn to wait for their turn. First step out of their cosy world at home and interact with adults or children of their age. Schools should have activities centred around pairing, waiting in line-up, smiling more, connecting with other learners. More activities addressing the visual and tactile senses, establishing comfort and trust.

Social-emotional learning activities for grade school: Activities in Grade school can now merge with studies and curriculum. They can imbibe a sense of achieving tasks given, appreciating accomplishment of tasks and accepting if tasks are not successful. This is the phase where students can learn to be aware of the sense of winning or accepting loss with motivation and confidence.

Social-emotional learning activities for middle school: At this age, teachers might focus more on esteem and acceptance. SWOT analysis tools can be of help. The class should have more open dialogue guided by teachers. There should be respect for differences and celebration of every task done, irrespective of grade, score or rank. A sense of management of tasks and work has to be encouraged, rather than just pushing marks, scores or grades. Also, empathy and awareness of classmate’s difficulties have to be focused upon, to ensure less bullying and lesser issues of indiscipline. Circle time, think pair share or peer assessments are some useful techniques.

Social-emotional learning activities for high school: This is the crucial year of the test of already learned social emotional coping strategies. Teenage is a challenging phase, and the school environment has to consolidate social emotional skills to ensure that accomplished and self-confident learners cross over to vocational pursuits and career pathways.

High schools should segregate social skills and emotional skills.
Social skills can be built upon with interactive activities, teaching listening skills, exposure to simulations or real-life experiences outside school or classrooms and learning the various parts of the community through community service programs. Also social responsibility can be built with assigning more independent research work and tasks.

Emotional skills can be consolidated by having guidance sessions with school counsellors, introducing peer-buddy programs or simply by having more cultural programs or fetes or fests with themes and bonding.

Greta Thunberg, Swedish environmental activist, is a prime example of acute sensitivity in social and emotional adjustment. Age is not the barrier for her to ask the correct questions and express with clarity what exactly she feels and demand with confidence what exactly she wants.

It is the aim of learning schools to focus on social and emotional competencies as they are aware that these are going to be the principal core competencies of the new age!

Written By- Dr. Sakshi
IBDP CAIE English Literature & Language Faculty JBCN International School, Parel

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Posted on: Thursday,2019,Oct,Thu