What’s the big deal with SEL?

By: Christina Cipriano, Ph.D. Ed.M.
Diverse group of students laughing playing with colorful wooden blocks

Social and Emotional Learning, or SEL, refers to interrelated sets of cognitive, affective, and behavioral competencies that underscore the way we understand, use, and manage emotions to learn. Emotions drive how we think, pay attention, make decisions, manage our time, and countless other processes that impact how students and teachers show up in the classroom.

The RethinkEd SEL for ALL Learners platform is a school-based social and emotional learning (SEL) program for enhancing the psychosocial health and well-being of teachers and students while creating an optimal learning environment that promotes academic, social, and personal effectiveness. Psychosocial health and well-being refers to the knowledge and skills needed to promote mental health, emotion regulation, and prosocial behaviors—knowledge and skills that are necessary for optimal development.

Educators, parents, and legislators acknowledge the need for schools to address the social and emotional needs of students in order to provide a rich learning environment. In fact, a systematic process for promoting SEL is the common element among schools that report an increase in academic achievement, improved relationship quality between teachers and students, and a decrease in problem behaviors.

Ideal SEL curricula are those that address the full spectrum of children’s needs by cultivating a caring, supportive, and empowering learning environments that foster the development of all learners in the school. RethinkEd SEL was designed specifically to meet these criteria.

About the Author

Christina Cipriano, Ph.D. Ed.M., Director of Research at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

Director of Research at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

Director of Research at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Dr. Cipriano is an Applied Developmental and Educational Psychologist, and Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, and her research focuses on serving vulnerable youth through systematic examination of the interactions within their homes, schools, and communities to promote pathways to optimal developmental outcomes.

She is currently an Assistant Professor, Service Learning Fellow, and Community Engaged Research Scholar at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. You can learn more about her science at drchriscip.com and her practice at therelateproject.com.

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