What is Social and Emotional Learning?
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) involves teaching and facilitating skills that students and adults need to be successful at home, at school, in the workplace, in life. When students and adults have social and emotional skills they are self and socially aware, and have the ability to manage themselves both independently and while interacting with others: They can listen to perspectives of others, use positive communication, be aware of cultural issues and differences, set and achieve goals, and take personal responsibility for their learning.
In the Anchorage School District, we have adopted SEL Standards that guide our instruction and are incorporated throughout a student's education. These standards focus on employability skills, or what we call the “me” skills and “we” skills. They are self-efficacy skills that allow us to become masters of our actions and allow us to work collectively to solve problems. Whichever term resonates with you, social/emotional or employability, it is essential our children learn both soft and hard skills in our homes and schools.
A Habit of Practice
SEL becomes a habit of practice when students, adults, and the entire school community remember that we use our SEL skills all day long, not just for a 30-minute block once a week. Research and literature on effective social and emotional learning identifies three critical ways in which SEL skills are learned (CASEL, ASD).
How Do We Achieve SEL?
In the Anchorage School District, SEL is achieved in three ways:
- Climate – Creating a safe and respectful learning environment, which is well managed, supportive, and engaging with active participation.
- Direct instruction – Using a variety of programs to deliberately teach the SEL skills students need to be successful learners. See the list below for specific programs.
- Infusion – Keep integrating SEL skills throughout the day and in all curriculum areas through modeling of instructional practices that promote SEL skill practice and maximize learning. The ASD SEL Signature Practices Playbook is a helpful resource for teachers for SEL infusion.
Direct Instruction ProgramsSEL programs currently being used at ASD:
- Connected and Respected K-2 & 3-5
- Second Step
- Elementary Counselors are using Kelso’s Choices, Sunburst
- Elementary Health/SEL Specialists – Great Body Shop
- Lions Quest - Middle Schools
- Adventure Education – PACE (Peer Academic Career Excellence), Peer Leadership, Adventure P.E. 101
- IMPACT (Individuals Making Positive Action Choices Today: Positive Action and Prime For Life)
By working together, schools and parents can promote children's SEL skills which can lead to more confident and successful children.
Young people who feel safe and supported are happy learners and can focus their attention on academics and become engaged in their school.
By working together schools and the community can promote SEL skills which can lead to more confident and successful students.