Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Research shows that skills taught in SEL classes have wide-ranging benefits that affect children’s success in school, career, and life.

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”. (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Economic Learning, CASEL), the leading US organization dedicated to advancing SEL.

These include:

  • More positive attitudes toward oneself, others, and tasks, including enhanced self-efficacy, confidence, persistence, empathy, connection, and commitment to school, as well as a sense of purpose.
  • Reduced conduct problems and risk-taking behaviors.
  • More positive social behaviors and relationships with peers and adults.
  •  Decreased emotional distress,
  • Improved test scores, grades, and attendance.

In the long run, greater social and emotional competency can increase the likelihood of school graduation, readiness for post-secondary education, career success, positive family and work relationships, and better mental health.  SEL, in brief, refers to skills to manage the self, relate to others positively and make responsible decisions.

SEL generate Positive Lifetime Outcomes:

 A 2014 study on SEL intervention programs for kindergarten students found that they have led to 10% fewer psychological, behavioral, or substance abuse problems at the age of 25. Higher educational attainment, stronger employment, and better mental health are also well-known positive impacts of SEL.

  • Learn about the value of Social-emotional Learning here
  • Learn why Social Emotional Learning ensures students are ready and available for deeper learning 

SEL Impact on Academic Outcomes

A  2011 meta-analysis of more than 270,000 students (kindergarten through high school) who participated in evidence-based SEL programs showed an 11 percentile-point gain in academic achievement compared to students who did not participate in SEL programs. Students participating in SEL programs also showed improved classroom behavior, an increased ability to manage stress and depression, and better attitudes about themselves, others, and school.

SEL in Singapore:

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has been high on Singapore’s education agenda to help students acquire important life skills for the 21st century, according to research in education at the National Institute of Education, Singapore.

The Ministry of Education has identified five core competencies that students should possess self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship management and responsible decision-making.

SEL Aboard

Influential change-making organizations such as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors provide support towards promoting Social & Emotional Learning, with the aim of equipping our youth with skills, to lead healthy productive lives. Read more here.



CORE SEL Competencies explained

CASEL’s integrated framework promotes intrapersonal, interpersonal, and cognitive competence.

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