Social-Emotional Learning

What is Social-Emotional Learning?

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) teaches students essential life skills based on five core competencies. These include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. With SEL, students can learn how to verbally express their feelings, empathise with other students in the classroom and resolve conflict with a peer.

The video below illustrates quite well how SEL works:

Now, you might wonder what is the difference between Mindfulness and SEL… Mindfulness and SEL share a number of features, but to be specific and according to, Mindfulness is the process of accepting your thoughts and regulating your emotions. Practicing mindfulness is being able to “focus your attention on the present moment.” It focuses on what’s going on in the now, rather than in the past or the future. 

Photo by Pixabay on

According to, Social-Emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

In my opinion, Mindfulness and SEL are essentially the same except that:

  • Mindfulness is a present reflection on and acceptance of “events” (mainly social and emotional events in relation to a projection of the self) that took place in the past.
  • SEL is the active and conscious examination of current “events” (once again social and emotional events) while purposefully trying to make them more successful.

I am not sure my definitions are more helpful than the professional definitions listed at the top of the page, but below is an illustration of how my definitions could be understood. Feel free to comment if you wish.

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