It’s been a strange year.
You likely missed months of school. Your summer probably seemed different. Chances are, you’ve felt some stress. Now it’s August, and school is almost back. What’s that going to look like?
You might wear a mask to class. You might continue remote learning. One thing is for certain: It’s time to get learning. Yet it’s not easy to open your mind when you’re dealing with all sorts of emotions. It may be tough to get your brain back for the new year!
This is why SEL is important. SEL stands for “social and emotional learning.” It is a way to manage emotions, set goals, make good decisions, and build strong relationships. These skills play a role in your success. SEL helps you with real life by developing skills that allow you to truly ... be you.
SEL makes kids feel happier. And it helps them get better grades. After all, our emotions and relationships affect how and what we learn. So, get set to learn some SEL skills this school year. Start off by learning about the five major parts of SEL. Then check back each day over the next four weeks to find out more.
There are many different parts of you. And we are constantly learning more about ourselves as we grow. Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself clearly. When we stop and reflect on how we feel, we are being self-aware. We can use self-awareness skills to stay positive, recognize feelings, reflect, and use our strengths.
Example: My little brother took my blanket without asking. I am angry.
Now you know how you feel. But what do you do with that information? How do you act on it? Managing yourself is all about using self-awareness to create positive actions. Self-management skills will help you regulate your emotions, figure out your strengths, set goals, and take better care of yourself.
Example: I am mad at my little brother, but I am going to take a deep breath. I won’t react by pushing him because that is wrong.
Another part of SEL is understanding how others feel. We are all human. Yet that doesn’t mean we are all the same. We may come from very different backgrounds. It is important to understand how someone may feel. That way, you can build good relationships and help others feel better. This is an example of empathy. When you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you are able to understand their perspective and learn more about the world.
Example: How does my little brother feel? Maybe he is cold. Or perhaps he is jealous because I have a nicer blanket.
Relationship skills combine self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness to help us interact with others. For example, when we recognize good friendships, we can appreciate them. Then, we can learn how to form more of them. It is important to know how to be respectful when sharing your thoughts. It is also important to know when someone is not being respectful toward you and how to deal with it.
Example: My little brother and I have a healthy relationship because I tell him when he hurts my feelings. I told him to ask me when he wants to borrow my blanket. We spent quality time together on the couch watching TV.
Should I read or play outside? We make decisions every day. Some are big, some are small. But they all affect our lives or the lives of others. Being a responsible decision-maker is all about making smart choices, considering the feelings of others in those decisions, and understanding consequences of our actions.
Example: I changed the channel, even though it was my little brother’s turn to watch a show. Now he is upset. I will fix it by giving the remote back to him.
Updated August 7, 2020, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Alexa Tirapelli