Karen Niemi, President and CEO of CASEL, provides a clear and succinct overview of how her organization defines “social and emotional learning” as well as key elements form the CASEL SEL framework. She contends that SEL is an integral part of education and human development. Through it, human beings can develop and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop health identities, manage emotions, show empathy for others, reinforce positive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.
The presenter emphasizes decades of research that demonstrate the following benefits of SEL: improvement in students’ social and emotional skills, attitudes, relationships, academic performance, and perceptions of classroom and school climate; decline in students’ anxiety, behavior problems, and substance abuse; long-term improvements in students’ skills, attitudes, prosocial behavior, and academic performance; and wise financial investment according to cost-benefit research.
Ms. Niemi presents a detailed description of the “CASEL 5,” five broad and interrelated areas of SEL competence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.