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How can embedding SEL into academic instruction affect our student's connection to education?

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Prior to the pandemic, educators like myself began to noticed a considerable drop in academic performance due to decline in student's mental and emotional health. As the pandemic hit, it also caused disruptions in routines and social isolation for children, which can be associated with increase in anxiety, depression, and has implications for weakening of mental health later in the child's life. A number of studies ny organizations like CASEL, show an increase in children’s mental health needs following social isolation due to the pandemic.


Coming back to traditional learning environments has not helped either, not just because students have too much to catch up on, but also because they don’t know why they’re doing it. This current epidemic is affecting our children and their connection to education.


According to CASEL, one of the leaders in schoolwide SEL, a “meta-analysis” that looked across 213 studies involving more than 270,000 students found that SEL instruction increased students’ academic performance by as much as 11 percentile points compared to students who did not receive the instruction.


Students with access to SEL instruction showed improved classroom behavior, an increased ability to manage stress, and better attitudes about themselves, others, and school. There is also evidence that integrated efforts to develop students’ social and emotional skills can help prevent risky behaviors such as drug use, violence, bullying, and dropping out.


Social Emotional development is an integral part of education and child growth. These skills develop important aspects of a child's life skills like pursuing and achieving goals, building self-confidence, self-control, independence, and dealing with setbacks and conflicts which makes it an essential part of education and should not be considered just an "add on" to high quality education.


The COVID-19 pandemic has showed the importance that online distance education performed in teaching students at all levels both in the United States and throughout the world. The integration of social emotional learning and cultural education into online distance learning platforms has never been more critical to the success of future learners in society than during this time and will be the best way to combat the effects the pandemic left on our students.



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