If you're involved in education, it's likely that you've been hearing a lot about social and emotional learning (SEL) lately. It's seemingly everywhere these days. And while the goal of educating the "whole child" is not new, we know more about the impact of social and emotional skills on learning than ever before. We now know, for example, that social and emotional skills develop in direct connection to student academic learning1. In practice, this means that you are not forced to "choose" between SEL and academic instruction. Research has shown that students with SEL training "scored 13 points higher academically than their peers 3.5 years later, had 6 percent better high school graduation rates, and could even reap lifelong monetary benefits for their healthy adult lifestyle."2 The big takeaway? We now know that the time that a teacher spends working on SEL skill development is not time taken away from academic instruction; it is time that is spent laying the foundation for academic achievement and lifelong health.
Our team at the Friday Institute, along with a group of experts, researchers, and practitioners, developed this course with the goal of helping you build your own foundational understanding of how social and emotional learning (SEL) skills are essential to, and inseparable from, student learning. In doing so, you will build your own SEL skills, see examples of how others are teaching these skills, learn strategies to apply to your classroom, and share ideas with your colleagues in your school, your community, and around the globe. The course is designed to work in multiple ways: it complements existing district- and school-wide programs but can also be used in the absence of these programs to support educators in weaving SEL both explicitly and implicitly throughout academic instruction and the school day. The course is free for everyone and is intended to support self-directed adult learning. We want you to get out of it what you need.
The course is organized in alignment with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) framework for social emotional learning (see image). CASEL is a widely-recognized leader in the field of social and emotional learning, and we have been grateful for their involvement and support in the development of this course.