How SEL enhances Special Education and beyond?

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How’s starting off a new school year for you so far?

 

Do you still feel excited each day? Or do you already have so much on your plate?

 

While every beginning of the school year brings different emotions, caseloads, paperwork, and challenges, still obviously, it is every educator’s goal to bring a positive impact on students academic lives.  Less commonly known however is that there is a growing movement encouraging teachers to become more involved in their students’ emotional and social needs as well.

It is believed that social and emotional learning (SEL) can actually prove essential to helping students meet their goals, even for children with significant behavioral problems.

SEL refers to a student’s ability to express emotions appropriately, show empathy for others, build positive relationships and generally make good decisions. It allows teachers to better connect with their students, which is likely to improve academic performance. This is especially the case for students in special education and those with severe behavioral issues.

“Most models of special education focus on pairing a special education teacher and a general education teacher in the same classroom to support student learning, the more exposure that special and general educators have to [social emotional learning] tenets, the more effective they are in supporting student needs,” said David Adams, director of social-emotional learning at Urban Assembly.

What is SEL?

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.

Core SEL Competencies:

  1. Self-awareness

The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”

  • Identifying emotions
  • Accurate self-perception
  • Recognizing strengths
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-efficacy

 

  1. Self-management

The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.

  • Impulse control
  • Stress management
  • Self-discipline
  • Self-motivation
  • Goal-setting
  • Organizational skills

 

  1. Social Awareness

The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

  • Perspective-taking
  • Empathy
  • Appreciating diversity
  • Respect for others

 

  1. Relationship Skills

The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. The ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.

  • Communication
  • Social engagement
  • Relationship-building
  • Teamwork

 

  1. Responsible Decision Making

The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms. The realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and a consideration of the well-being of oneself and others.

  • Identifying problems
  • Analyzing situations
  • Solving problems
  • Evaluating
  • Reflecting
  • Ethical responsibility

SEL Approaches

 

Effective SEL approaches often incorporate four elements represented by the acronym SAFE:

  • Sequenced: Connected and coordinated activities to foster skills development.
  • Active: Active forms of learning to help students master new skills and attitudes.
  • Focused: A component that emphasizes developing personal and social skills.
  • Explicit: Targeting specific social and emotional skills.

Ideally, schools will use SAFE approaches to support the social and emotional development of their students. For example:

 

  • Children can be taught through modeling and coaching to recognize how they feel or how someone else might be feeling.
  • Prompting the use of a conflict-resolution skill and using dialoguing to guide students through the steps can be an effective approach to helping them apply a skill in a new situation.
  • Through class meetings, students can practice group decision-making and setting classroom rules.
  • Students can learn cooperation and teamwork through participation in team sports and games.
  • Students can deepen their understanding of a current or historical event by analyzing it through a set of questions based on a problem-solving model.
  • Cross-age mentoring, in which a younger student is paired with an older one, can be effective in building self-confidence, a sense of belonging, and enhancing academic skills.
  • Having one member of a pair describe a situation to his partner and having the partner repeat what he or she heard is an effective tool in teaching reflective listening.

You can find the whole article here: casel.org

Find SEL Research here:

https://casel.org/research/

If you want to know how to implement SEL in school and integrate SEL in the classroom? This is a great source for you!

 

Why SEL is important to Special Education?

In case you’re a bit curious about a teacher’s view of SEL, here’s one for you!

 

We are not affiliated with any organization or bloggers mentioned in this article.  But we thought that by sharing these articles will help you towards your goal to positively impact students academic lives.

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