School climate and culture is key to students’ ability to thrive and succeed in school. A positive school culture can help students, parents, and staff feel valued, safe, and invested. It promotes a sense of connectedness within the school, increases engagement, and improves students’ academic performance.
There are many ways social and emotional learning (SEL) fosters a positive culture and inclusive learning environment within a school, which in turn facilitates school engagement and success of students and adults.
We’ve outlined five school-wide benefits of quality SEL programs below.
The primary responsibility of every district, school, and educator is to ensure students are able to learn in safe and caring environments. SEL creates safe and supportive schools because it promotes empathy and kindness, fosters positive learning environments, strengthens teacher and peer relationships, and increases feelings of belongingness and connectedness. It also can promote positive behavior and reduce bullying.
Most of us remember a teacher who went above and beyond to engage us in learning. That teacher likely connected with us and made us excited to learn. SEL promotes relationships that support and encourage students, which in turn encourages students to take ownership of their learning, work hard, and cooperate. It also decreases disruptive behavior and can influence a student’s decision to stay in school.
SEL can help prevent bullying. It teaches empathy, acceptance of different perspectives, and the skills needed to form healthy relationships with others. It can also help students feel seen and that like they matter. For students who bully others, SEL can decrease aggressive and controlling behaviors and increase their ability to be respectful and kind. For victims of bullying, SEL can improve confidence and self-worth and reduce social withdrawal.
SEL also improves school-family partnerships, and it helps teachers build stronger classroom management skills and create safe and supportive learning environments. These dynamics can improve student cooperation and increase their willingness to accept and get along with others.
SEL teaches students that they have the power to spread kindness. It also teaches students how to empathize with others. When students learn how to identify and understand others’ feelings, they are more likely to show kindness and compassion. Increased empathy can help students form positive peer relationships and demonstrate greater cooperation and collaboration.
SEL can play a role in increasing equity within a school. SEL helps educators treat students with fairness and better understand where students are coming from. SEL also helps school staff identify and provide extra resources to students who need them and promotes culturally responsive teaching so that every student is treated fairly.
Quality SEL programs can create a positive learning environment and foster students’ sense of belonging within their school. A strong sense of citizenship can motivate students to learn, increase cooperation, and become active agents in building positive and equitable environments inside and outside of school.
The school-wide benefits of a quality SEL program are far-reaching. SEL promotes positive learning environments and creates a culture where staff and students feel connected, supported, and involved in ensuring every student’s learning needs are met.
Contact our SEL advisors today to learn more!