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International SEL Day

International SEL Day

March 11 is International SEL Day. This year, we are asked to reflect on common ground. When I think of social-emotional learning (SEL), I position it under a lens of whole learner. I see it as an understanding that science shows us that all parts of the brain are engaged in learning—that, when we attend to all parts of a person, they thrive, including in their academics. I have found this excerpt from The OECD Education 2030 position paper titled “The Future of Education and Skills 2030,” an important piece as we look forward:

The children entering education in 2018 will be young adults in 2030. Schools can prepare them for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve problems that have not yet been anticipated. It will be a shared responsibility to seize opportunities and find solutions.

To navigate through such uncertainty, students will need to develop curiosity, imagination, resilience and self-regulation; they will need to respect and appreciate the ideas, perspectives and values of others; and they will need to cope with failure and rejection, and to move forward in the face of adversity [emphasis added]. Their motivation will be more than getting a good job and a high income; they will also need to care about the well-being of their friends and families, their communities and the planet.

Education can equip learners with agency and a sense of purpose, and the competencies they need, to shape their own lives and contribute to the lives of others.

Fundamentally, the aforementioned skills in bolded text are ones that integrated and standalone SEL can support. Whole learning approaches that focus on the context of all learning can create safe environments for risk taking, curiosity and innovation—places where the voices of students and educators infuse efforts to create lifelong independent learners who can bring new solutions to an ever-changing world.

Whether you think of this approach as SEL, 21st century skills, character education, workforce development, or civics learning, developing the skills highlighted above is essential.

Interested in learning more about SEL and the impact it can have for students and schools? Check out more of Edmentum’s SEL blog posts here.

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Jen Perry

Jen Perry currently serves as the Director, Whole Learning and SEL at Edmentum. Jen joined Edmentum as the Learning Designer for Social-Emotional Learning after 30+ years of work with youth in educational and community settings. As a teacher, administrator, and trainer, her passion has been to help educators develop an understanding of the importance of social and emotional learning and build trauma-informed responses and systems. This work has included supporting youth, administrators, and schools in understanding behavior and implementing transformational change through strength-based approaches.