Social Emotional Learning in Education

Social-emotional learning (SEL), a term that sounds so familiar yet so obscure. The New Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) gave this Ancient Greek theory the much needed limelight. SEL is often defined as, “the process through which children make sense of their emotions, understand the world around them, and learn how to positively navigate through relationships, decision-making, aspirations and intentions.” NEP 2020 clearly states that, the aim of the education system must be to, “develop good human beings capable of rational thought and action, possessing compassion and empathy.”

The purpose is to encourage the students and the teachers to develop a greater perception of ‘the self’ and ‘the world around them.’ This concept has the ability to transform the classroom environment by encouraging the students and teachers to reflect on the subject or topic at hand, while also being able to understand their own thoughts and emotions.

SEL skills are easily transferable. The teachers and parents can use simple activities to teach these skills to their children. In a formal setup, these skills can be taught in the classrooms. Teachers can conduct activities such as, helping the students write a story together, enabling an environment where the students learn about each other’s interests, providing students with different scenarios where their emotions are challenged, etc. In an informal environment, the parents can be encouraged to have interactions with their children about different social or family related issues. The family of the child can also be encouraged to help the student interact with the community

It is essential to keep in mind the three key aspects while designing and conducting these activities with the students. These are:

  1. The students must be encouraged to understand the emotions of those involved with them in the activity as well as their own.
  2. If the students experience extreme emotions, the teacher or parent present must assist the children to deal with the extremities and teach them ways to correct the reaction.
  3. The students must be motivated to judge their own reactions and make socially responsible decisions based on their emotions.

The schools today must give the integration of SEL in the school curriculum a serious thought. Research has shown that this skill not only speeds up the process of development of other academic skills in the early years but also the positive outcomes last throughout their life. One cannot emphasise enough on the importance of this skill.

The chapter on Early Childhood Care and Education talks in detail about the urgency of the inclusion of the same. Even in the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2019 ‘Early Years’, the gravity of the situation has been presented quite descriptively and alarmingly. The report talks in detail about various studies it conducted in primary schools across the country and issued its shocking findings. For instance, one of their studies was meant to assess a child’s ability to control their emotions when faced with a problem. The results of this study showed that only 2.5% of the students were able to deal with the situation amicably, while the rest resorted to violence.

Distressing as any of this may seem, this is the time for change. The NEP 2020 has done its bit, now it’s our turn as educators and mentors to work and provide our children a chance for a bright future. As the people responsible, it’s important to remind ourselves the words of the Father of our Nation,

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi


  • Author: Planet
    Date: 08 August, 2022


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