whySELWhat is emotional intelligence and why does it matter in education? What does current research say about “social emotional learning”?

In simple terms, emotional intelligence (sometimes called “EQ”) is the ability to use emotions effectively and productively. Since the publication of the initial research in 1990, innovative schools and educational organizations have begun integrating emotional intelligence into their educational programs through a process of “social emotional learning” (or SEL). It is becoming increasingly clear that an emphasis on teaching and modeling EQ/SEL skills is a foundation for high-performing students, classrooms, and schools.

Emotional Intelligence for Academic and Life Success

The field of social emotional learning has matured to the point that best practices for implementation can be outlined with confidence.

This case includes data on:

Recent trends in SEL science, practice, and policy.

We cite the overwhelming evidence for the correlation between SEL, academic achievement, and student success. We explore key implementation strategies and new directions in the field.

SEL-caseEmerging interest in SEL and school climate highlights the need for deepening EQ skills in both students and educators.

Recent discoveries in neuroscience confirm what progressive educators have always known; that learning is social, and that the key to social emotional learning may well lie in the relationships established between student and teacher, and between students and their peers.

The Benefits of Social Emotional Learning

When teachers develop their own EQ skills, they may experience renewed energy and a sense of purpose, as they re-discover the power and joy of connecting to students and to each other in a learning community.

As educators commit to SEL in their schools, students will be able to re-engage, to find a place in school where they can feel safe in their relationships, ready to learn, and challenged to succeed.

An SEL initiative will allow administrators to hone powerful leadership skills and use these skills to nurture all stakeholders. It will allow administrators to craft schools and communities that support the development of caring, compassionate, motivated and successful individuals, friends, family members, and engaged citizens of the world (Patti, Senge, Madrazo, & Stern, 2015).

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Joshua Freedman

Joshua is one of the world’s preeminent experts on developing emotional intelligence to create positive change. With warmth and authenticity, he translates leading-edge science into practical, applicable terms that improve the quality of relationships to unlock enduring success. Joshua leads the world’s largest network of emotional intelligence practitioners and researchers.
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