Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

From the very beginning in the year 2000, the educational formation in Ingenium was characterized by what is now become a widely accepted  theory  called “Social-Emotional Learning.” (Note the Ingenium Pre-School motto: “Where God’s-given talents blossom in joy.”). The term,  “Emotional Quotient,” (vs. IQ) is now a validated by-word.

Because of its importance in the Ingenium educational process, we reproduce a synopsis of the key ideas and principles of SEL with which the name of  Daniel Goleman is closely associated.

Daniel Goleman’s emotional intelligence:

Daniel Goleman’s exceptional reporting and culling of research on social and emotional competencies in his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence , brought this concept into a much needed focus.

Goleman’s work teaches us that children’s emotional and social skills can be cultivated, so that the child will accrue both short-term and long-term advantages in regard to well-being, performance and success in life. He outlines five crucial emotional competencies basic to social and emotional learning:

  1. Self and other awareness: understanding and identifying feelings; knowing when one’s feelings shift; understanding the difference between thinking, feeling and acting; and understanding that one’s actions have consequences in terms of others’ feelings.
  2. Mood management: handling and managing difficult feelings; controlling impulses; and handling anger constructively
  3. Self-motivation: being able to set goals and persevere towards them with optimism and hope, even in the face of setbacks
  4. Empathy: being able to put yourself “in someone else’s shoes” both cognitively and affectively; being able to take someone’s perspective; being able to show that you care
  5. Management of relationships: making friends, handling friendships; resolving conflicts; cooperating; collaborative learning and other social skills

The mastery of these five competencies results in enhanced emotional intelligence

Social Emotional Learning in Action

Dr. Maurice Elias, a leading child psychologist, researcher and expert on SEL from Rutgers University, explains the dangers of omitting social-emotional programs from our children’s classrooms. He maintains that “many of the problems in our schools are the result of social and emotional malfunction and debilitation from which too many children have suffered and continue to bear the consequences. Children in class who are beset by an array of confused or hurtful feelings cannot and will not learn effectively. In the process of civilizing and humanizing our children, the missing piece is, without doubt, social and emotional learning. Protestations that this must be outside of and separate from traditional schooling are misinformed, harmful and may doom us to continued frustration in our academic mission and the need for Herculean efforts in behavioral damage control and repair. The roster of social casualties will grow ever larger.”

Emotional well-being is “dramatically and positively predictive not only of academic achievement, but also of satisfactory and productive experiences in the world of work and marriage, even of better physical health.”

In a recent evaluation of the Atlanta-based Resolving Conflict Creatively (RCCP), a multi-school project which has social-emotional learning techniques at the core of its pedagogy, ….”there was generally less school violence, and there was increased self-esteem, improved abilities to help others, and greater personal responsibility for resolving conflicts among participating youngsters. After only two years of implementation, there were substantial improvements in participating schools’ course failure, dropout, student attendance and suspension rates.” Dr. Stanley J. Schneider, Senior Vice President of Metis Associates.

These insights from experts have alerted educators to the critical value of holistic education, which involves the stimulation and training of both a child’s cognitive and affective development. By strengthening and increasing social-emotional educational opportunities, we will increase our children’s capacity to learn, give them the tools to aspire to personal and professional achievements, and enable them to experience personal satisfaction.

Self-understanding and greater emotional management coupled with the ability to deal wisely and effectively with others, positively impacts people’s capacity to negotiate their everyday lives. Researchers and psychologists maintain that social and emotional competencies “allow us to modulate emotions, solve social problems creatively, to be effective leaders and collaborators, (and) to be assertive and responsible.” The good news is that social and emotional skills can be learned and enhanced at any age. Infants, children and adults alike can develop their social and emotional understanding; however, the earlier a person beings the SEL process, the greater the advantages.

Excerpt from:

Social and Emotional Learning: What is it? How can we use it to help our children? by Robin Stern, Ph.D.