The Link Between SEL And Academic Progress

Author: Antoinette Morris

Posted: 19 Oct 2023

Estimated time to read: 3 mins

In the dynamic landscape of education, social emotional learning (SEL) has evolved from being a buzzword into a powerful educational tool with substantial benefits for students.

SEL is becoming known as a catalyst for academic success in UK schools. As students acquire emotional intelligence, self-awareness and interpersonal skills through SEL programs, they gain valuable tools for thriving in the classroom. SEL enhances their ability to focus, set goals, solve problems and build resilience. The result? Improved academic performance, higher test scores and even better behaviour in the classroom. By nurturing students' emotional and social development, SEL plays a pivotal role in laying the foundations for academic achievement and lifelong learning success.

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Bringing SEL into UK classrooms for improved academic outcomes

The adoption of SEL practices is on the rise in the UK. Here are five effective ways in which SEL is being implemented in British classrooms:

SEL curriculum integration: Incorporate SEL into the curriculum by dedicating specific lessons or activities to social and emotional skill development. These lessons should focus on self awareness, self regulation, empathy and relationship building. Need help? Try Skills.

Classroom norms and structure: Collaboratively establish classroom norms and agreements with students. Encourage them to participate in discussions about respectful communication, active listening and conflict resolution. By creating a safe and respectful learning environment, students are more likely to engage in academic tasks and express themselves confidently.

Emotion recognition and regulation: Teach students to recognise and manage their emotions effectively. Provide tools and techniques such as emotion wheels or journaling to help students express their feelings constructively. When students can navigate their emotions, they are better equipped to stay focused and engaged in their studies.

Peer collaboration and team building: Promote teamwork and peer collaboration through group projects, cooperative learning activities and class discussions. Encourage students to work together, practice empathy and resolve conflicts. These experiences not only develop social skills but also enhance critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, which are valuable for academic success. Reducing classroom conflict also means fewer distractions for your students, allowing them to focus on their studies.

Individualised support: Recognise that each student has unique social and emotional needs. Offer individualised support for students who may be struggling with emotional challenges or facing academic setbacks where possible with the resources you have. This could involve counselling, targeted interventions or additional resources tailored to their specific needs. Treating all students the same will always leave some at a disadvantage.

Social emotional learning isn't just an educational trend; it's a fundamental shift in how we prepare students for success. As we witness the rise of SEL in UK schools, we can look forward to a generation of students who are not only well-educated but also emotionally resilient, compassionate and ready to face the future with confidence.

Looking to learn more about SEL? Check out our SEL 101 guide.

Are you interested in SEL but don't know where to start?

Implementing SEL in your school can feel like a daunting task, with many wanting to introduce it but having no idea where to start. 

Satchel Pulse’s new Skills tool is an all-in-one, cost effective solution to negative student behaviour, poor academic performance and low wellbeing that’s quick and easy to implement.

Book a no-strings-attached demo today to see how Skills could help your school, or find out more about the tool here

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