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The Role of Social and Emotional Learning in the Classroom

Social and Emotional development activity in classroom

Teachers get into education first and foremost because they care about children. They want to not only help their students understand academic concepts but create an environment that fosters social and emotional development. 

That’s why many teachers seek extensive training in the area of social and emotional learning (SEL). While academic success is important, SEL can play a vital role in making students successful throughout their school years and in their adult professional lives. 

Fresno Pacific University offers a course called Guidance in Emotional/Social Behavior that addresses social and emotional development issues. It is offered as a professional development course for teachers through Fresno Pacific University’s continuing education program. 

In the course, teachers will learn about many issues related to social and emotional learning. They include: 

  • Self-awareness 
  • Self-regulation 
  • How children construct their knowledge of self 
  • Developing self-esteem  

Teachers evaluate their own classroom design from a social and emotional learning perspective. They also study children’s literature and learn how to design an SEL-focused lesson plan through literature. 

What Is SEL? 

Social and emotional development is a lot like the soft skills that are emphasized in the workplace. In the context of school children, these “soft skills” go beyond academics and deal with how they interact with the world. 

Teaching SEL can involve many different issues. PBS lists the following as being part of SEL.  

  • Self-awareness 
  • Self-management 
  • Social awareness 
  • Relationship skills 
  • Responsible decision-making 

PBS also reports that many teachers feel they do not have the time to teach SEL in their classroom because of the focus on academics and passing tests. That’s why a course that educates teachers on how to effectively incorporate social and emotional learning elements into the classroom is so attractive. 

The Importance of Social and Emotional Learning 

There are practical reasons why kids need strong social and emotional development. Those soft skills that adults use are in high demand in the workplace, including strong communication skills and a willingness to collaborate. SEL can better prepare schoolchildren for success in these important areas. 

But the advantages go far beyond the practical. According to research from the Robert Woods Foundation, social and emotional learning "enhances students’ abilities to understand and manage their emotions, set and achieve personal and academic goals, show respect and empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible and ethical decisions.” 

What You Learn in an SEL Course 

In the course from Fresno Pacific University, teachers learn about the latest research into social and emotional learning and the impact on the development of children. 

The online course also educates teachers on how to apply this knowledge to create activities in the classroom that support social and emotional development. They also learn to use techniques that aid children in learning positive social skills. 

This includes projects that foster cooperative work and play that increase a child’s sense of value as a member of a group. Every aspect of SEL focuses on helping students form satisfying relationships with others. 

For teachers who wish to become more effective in their jobs, learning about social and emotional development can help them accomplish that goal. And by taking the course from Fresno Pacific University, they get the chance to further their professional development through an accredited university.