Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and Why It Matters

Growing up is hard. Students worry about getting good grades. Moreover, they worry about looking good and being popular. Even excelling in extracurricular activities can increase stress. Social media only adds to these worries. Additionally, research studies show that children today struggle with high levels of depression and anxiety.

“Social-emotional learning” (SEL) is growing in the field of education. What is SEL? How can it help our children become more resilient in the face of modern-day stress?

What is Social-Emotional Learning?

According to CASEL, social-emotional learning helps individuals “understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” These goals address problems connected to social media.

Presently, SEL programs are based on the belief that educators should teach the “whole child.” These programs give students specific tools that empower them to be successful. Furthermore, these skills may be carried into adulthood.

A Safe Environment for Learning

A Safe Environment for Learning

SEL can support the creation of a safe, inclusive space for learning. When a classroom includes students of diverse personalities and backgrounds, everyone needs to feel accepted. We help teachers create a sense of community in the classroom. In particular, we cover everything from room set up to finding bilingual resources.

SEL and Literacy Instruction

However, students are not the only ones under pressure. Teachers feel overwhelmed as well. They have an immense amount of responsibility and a heavy workload. SEL can be incorporated seamlessly into daily lesson plans, rather than becoming one more thing on a teacher’s agenda.

Literacy instruction presents a key opportunity for SEL integration. Through book characters, students learn many things. They explore self-esteem, feelings, and perseverance. These are all prominent features in SEL. Additionally, students learn about the importance of advocating for themselves and others. This is another key SEL skill.

4 Free SEL Lesson Plans

Social-Emotional Learning

Language Lizard recently partnered with West Chester University to offer 4 multicultural lesson plans that focus on SEL skills. Specifically, these lesson plans focus on student happiness. Lessons highlight the importance of maintaining fulfilling relationships, finding purpose, and accepting oneself and others. Access these free lesson plans to bring SEL and multicultural learning to your classroom.

Have you implemented SEL instruction in your classroom? Comment and tell us about your experience with SEL. 

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Anneke Forzani founded Language Lizard ( to provide educators, librarians, and parents with resources that develop literacy skills among English Language Learners, build inclusive classrooms, and celebrate cultural diversity. Language Lizard offers bilingual books in over 50 languages, multilingual audio resources, multicultural posters, and free lesson plans to support multicultural classrooms. The company also runs a blog ( for parents and teachers working with language learners and culturally diverse students. Anneke is the author of Building Bridges with Bilingual Books and Multicultural Resources (a manual to support culturally responsive teaching) and With Flying Colors: Color Idioms (a multicultural idiom book).
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