Your self-concept describes the mental perception of the various components of your identity. A self-concept more aligned or congruent with reality increases your chances for a positive educational experience, a successful career path, and overall health and wellness. Schools that introduce universal social and emotional learning programs equip their students with the tools to develop the self-efficacy and grit that lead to more empowered and healthful lives.
Purpose of Universal SEL Programs
The Collaborative Academic Social and Emotional Learning organization offers extensive insights into the research-based value of systemic SEL programs in schools. Their CASEL framework has become the industry standard for understanding the multiple focuses of SEL programs for children:
- Self-awareness: understanding how your emotions, thoughts, and values affect you in various contexts.
- Self-management: managing emotions, thoughts, and behavior in different contexts to set and achieve goals.
- Social awareness: practicing empathy and seeing others’ perspectives in social situations, including those from other cultures or backgrounds.
- Relationship skills: establishing and cementing healthy relationships with others in different contexts across diverse backgrounds.
- Decision-making: making productive and caring decisions regarding your behavior in various social situations.
SEL Programs Support Students’ Gains in Self-Efficacy
Healthy relationships have a foundation of compassion, empathy, openness, and SEL programs in the school setting encourage the development of those relationships among students. When students engage more deeply with peers, they also experience greater confidence in engaging with academic material. Their self-image shifts closer to reality, becoming congruent, adding confidence to all interactions with others.
Since a significant causality of academic success rests in a realistic and positive self-concept, the component gains of self-esteem and self-efficacy in SEL situations allow students to set themselves more challenging goals. Concurrently, students with a solid emotional framework for managing stress and failure will be more willing to take academic risks and see higher returns on their intellectual investments.
SEL Programs Support Teacher-Student Interaction
Teachers face a daunting task: beyond managing the learning of 20 to 40 children in their classroom, many of these students have needs in emotional and social areas. SEL programs present teachers with a clear path to supporting those students. As programs teach students a way to communicate with their teachers, educators can focus on remaining approachable and creating a supportive classroom.
Classroom management also becomes a less burdensome task when student peer interactions improve through empathy and self-control practiced in SEL programs. Teachers can then self-reflect and improve pedagogical approaches through progress-monitoring report data.
Self-Concept Assessment Tools Can Determine Areas of Need
SEL programs in an educational setting affect all stakeholders: students, parents, teachers, and administrative staff and should therefore involve these groups in SEL program selection. Also, there should be a process of assessment for the students. Instructional coordinators can then choose the most suitable system for your context. Learn more at WPS about how to help kids in school using self-concept assessment tools.