SEL: Learn Cognitive, Social & Emotional Skills - Essay Sample

Paper Type: 
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1787 Words
Date:  2023-08-02


Social, emotional learning (SEL) refers to the process through which both adults and children acquire and apply the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to understand and process emotions, set and work towards goals to achieve them, expressing empathy towards others, maintaining positive relationships with others, and making responsible decisions (Mckown, 2017). Social, emotional learning consists of three different types of skills:

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  • cognitive skills, including goal planning, critical thinking, impulse control, and the managing and shifting of attention
  • emotional skills, which include knowledge and expression of emotions, regulation of different types of behavior, and empathy
  • social skills include prosocial behavior, a good understanding of social cues, conflict resolution, and problem-solving at the social level.

Implementation of social, emotional learning in high schools enables students to be skilled, socially aware, and responsible, thereby providing them with the academic and psychological resources they need to succeed in school (Hamedani & Hammond, 2015). Social, emotional, and psychological aspects of learning have become more important in recent years as significant factors for student achievement. (Hamedani & Hammond, 2015). A 21st-century education requires a growth mindset, collaboration with other students, perspective-taking skills, and student inclusion and school belonging. Failing to meet the social, emotional, and psychological needs of students increase gaps in achievement and opportunities, especially for low-income students and students of color, who are not appropriately served in school (Hamedani & Hammond, 2015).

As an African-American high school football coach and a school counselor, I believe schools should strive to meet students' needs from all backgrounds. Schools should incorporate diverse racial, ethnic, and social-economic methods of schooling. This should be done to understand better how to establish social correctly and emotional learning in schools to engage and empower students who are sidelined and underserved in the educational system. Ensuring social justice in social and emotional learning will enable students from different backgrounds to be ambassadors of change in their lives, communities, and society. My job as a school counselor requires me to guide students in three areas; academic growth, career advancement, and socio-emotional development. These three areas are interconnected with each other. My job also involves addressing student needs in social and emotional aspects. I identify and help solve issues to do with these aspects to remove any barriers that may hinder students from achieving academic success. The social and emotional aspects of learning enable students to learn how to manage emotions and to apply interpersonal skills to solve problems. Students who participate in social, emotional learning programs show improved socio-emotional skills, behavior, attitude, and academic performance. Students who go through these programs show an 11% gain in academic achievement (Durlak, 2011).

My role as a school counselor requires me to create a safe environment to address students' social and emotional needs. These needs need to be addressed to avoid displaying high-risk behaviors by students, such as drug abuse, violence, and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. It is, therefore, essential that all high schools engage students in social and emotional learning practices to help them succeed in academics and life in general. There are several ways in which high schools can do this, and they wil be discussed in the following section.

How social-emotional learning can enhance the development of students in class.

Social and emotional aspects of learning are vital in the development of students in the class. Social and emotional skills learned in class can help in students' growth in the following ways:

Improved Conflict Resolution

SEL helps in conflict resolution and restorative practices. As a football coach, I handle disagreements between players every practice session. I always strive to teach my players how best they can resolve their differences. I help them address the issues they have with each other and offer them the most appropriate ways to solve their differences peacefully. Conflict resolution is an essential aspect of social, emotional learning that helps students resolve disagreements they have while in class. Social, emotional learning enables students to understand the various perspectives of conflict, emotion management, and clear communication. The social and emotional skills required to manage conflicts are similar to competencies outlined in SEL frameworks. Social, emotional learning taught during social studies in high school classrooms offer insights to students on issues of domestic conflicts, international conflicts, negotiation skills, and various perspectives that address controversial issues. Studies of these issues improve students’ problem-solving and conflict resolution skills as they learn how to handle conflicts in different situations and circumstances. SEL skills learned by students help improve their critical thinking to find the most appropriate ways to handle disputes in peace. When students apply social, emotional learning skills in conflict resolution, they develop the capacity to keep their emotions in check while handling arguments and disagreements with their fellow students and even their teachers. Students also apply SEL skills in conflict resolution by using their critical thinking capacities to think of more peaceful ways to handle conflicts. These skills, when used in the long term, result in the emotional growth of students.

College and Career Readiness

As a school counselor, I can attest that selecting the right college and preparing for it is one of the most complex processes in high school. I have seen students in past years choosing careers they were not passionate about only to start college and drop out after one or two semesters. A student's passion is a significant factor in selecting the right college and career. Having social, emotional learning skills is a huge advantage in the college and career selection process. College and career selection is a significant decision, and it is influenced by, among other, social, emotional learning factors. These social, emotional learning factors include;

Mindset. Mindset refers to one's beliefs and attitude about oneself and the external world, and the interconnection between them. A positive mindset enables a student to be prepared for the college and career they are going to choose. A student with a positive mindset persists even when the college selection process seems like it is difficult or a lot of hard work. In the college and career selection process, students should have mindsets such as "I will succeed at this" or "I belong in this college community." These positive mindsets fuel students' motivation and drive to achieve the best in their academics to qualify for the colleges and careers they wish to pursue. A positive mindset enables a student to adopt an openness to new career ideas and college selections.

Self-regulation. Self-regulation is the set of processes that enable people to manage their emotions, behavior, and attention. Self-regulation helps a student in the college and career selection process in that they can persist even when they feel hopeless about joining a particular college or pursuing a specific career. Students adopt this SEL skill to work hard to meet the requirements needed to join their dream colleges and careers. An optimistic mind will always have the energy to put in the effort to achieve highly in academics despite any setbacks the student may experience.

Social and cultural efficacy. This is an SEL skill that enables a student to work with other students at school and in society in general. This SEL skill also allows a student to work effectively with teachers at school. Possessing this SEL skill enables a student to also work well with other students in project-based learning in school. Improved interaction with other students results in a positive attitude towards learning and improved academic achievements.

Improved Mental Health

There exists a connection between good mental health and academic success. Poor mental health reduces a student's potential to perform well in their studies. Students who suffer from chronic stress or depression are at a higher risk of performing poorly in school. These mental issues may also turn into mental illnesses such as long-term depression and anxiety. Most students have usually not developed the capacity to handle these psychological issues. They may act out, making it difficult for them to concentrate on their studies and retain the information they learn while at school. Training students on SEL practices that improve students' mental health will give them the necessary skills and capacity to handle these stressors. It will also strengthen their resilience so as not to let the mental health issues get in the way of their academic endeavors. Students that know how to handle stress well are better performers academically than those students who do not know how to manage stress when faced with difficult situations.

Having SEL skills also enable students to share their concerns on their mental health with their teachers or parents in a mature and fully expressive manner. Teachers are able to help students if they know what is wrong with their students. As a counselor, I have had students coming to my office but not knowing how to express their problems in a way that would help me understand what is wrong so that I would adopt the right strategy to help them deal with their mental health issues. I have had to recommend these students books that teach them how to accept their emotions and not shut them down. Coming from a neighborhood that is very close to the high school I work, I have seen students who are unable to deal with mental health problems drop out of school. These students are then unable to fit into the society around them because they nothing to offer to the community. They possess no working skills because their levels of education and knowledge are limited. Therefore, knowing how to handle mental stressors is crucial to any student's potential to perform well in academics.

Improved Thinking Skills

Various SEL thinking skills are essential in ensuring a student achieves high levels of academic achievement. Perspective-taking, which is the ability to infer the beliefs and thoughts of other people, is an important contributor to high academic success. Children with an adequately developed ability to recognize emotions in other students do better on various outcomes of school life, including academics. Young students, especially in pre-school who have a good knowledge and understanding of emotions, achieve higher grades in schools. This knowledge of emotions is demonstrated in how students read emotions from tone of voice, facial expressions, and body posture. This skill to read emotion is results in better math skills and reading skills. Being able to recognize emotion is associated with high self-esteem, better self-control, and peer acceptance.

Among school-going children, social-problem solving is associated with better academic performance. Social problem-solving involves understanding conflicts in the social setting, social goals development, and finding creative and appropriate ways to resolve disputes. Students who have knowledge in applying social problem-solving skills are more emotionally mature, and emotional maturity goes hand-in-hand with optimum academic performance. A combination of perspective-ta...

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SEL: Learn Cognitive, Social & Emotional Skills - Essay Sample. (2023, Aug 02). Retrieved from

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