Skip to main content

The Importance of Social-Emotional Learning in Education

6 November 2023 | Posted in Inclusive Education

The Importance of Social-Emotional Learning in Education

The importance of social and emotional learning (SEL) in education cannot be understated.

According to the national Australian Curriculum, SEL is one of the key building blocks in any form of education. A recent study demonstrated that students who received social and emotional learning in their education achieved an average academic performance 11% higher than those who did not.

At Townsville Catholic Education Office, we prioritise social and emotional education alongside the academic and spiritual, for a holistic schooling experience.

But what exactly is social and emotional learning, and how does it impact the education of students? Let’s take a look. 

What is Social and Emotional Learning?

Social-emotional learning (also known as SEL) is a form of education that prioritises the development of social and emotional skills. SEL also falls under the category of Personal and Social Capability, according to the Australian Curriculum.

The 5 Core Areas of Social and Emotional Learning

According to the Queensland Government’s guide to social and emotional learning, social-emotional learning can be identified in five core areas:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-management
  3. Social awareness
  4. Relationship skills
  5. Responsible decision-making

SEL gives educators and schools the ability to cultivate the development of these values, ensuring the holistic education of their students.

The Importance of Social and Emotional Learning

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is conducive towards students developing crucial life skills, attitudes, and competencies that are necessary for their overall well-being and success —whether inside or outside of the classroom.

Here are a few of the main reasons why SEL is so vital in education:

  1. Improved academic performance: Research has shown that when students have strong social and emotional skills, they are more engaged in the learning process, are more motivated to succeed, and have better academic outcomes.
  2. Enhanced emotional well-being: Social-emotional learning helps students to develop self-awareness, self-management, and positive relationships, which in turn promotes mental health and emotional well-being. This can improve skills for coping with stress, handle challenging situations, and develop resilience. 
  1. Positive behaviour and reduced disciplinary issues: Social-emotional learning equips students with the ability to regulate their emotions, make responsible decisions, and understand the consequences of their actions. This leads to improved behaviour, reduced discipline problems, and a more positive and inclusive learning environment for everyone else. 
  1. Better interpersonal skills: Social-emotional learning helps students develop empathy, compassion, and effective communication skills. These interpersonal skills are essential for healthy relationships, cooperation, and collaboration with others, both inside and outside the classroom.
  2. Preparation for the workforce: Besides academic skills, employers value social and emotional competencies in employees. Social-emotional learning helps students develop skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication skills, which are essential for success in the workforce.
  3. Increased self-confidence: Social-emotional learning helps students develop a positive self-image, self-esteem, and self-confidence. This enables them to take on challenges, set goals, and persevere in the face of obstacles.
  4. Reduced risk of problematic behaviours: By promoting self-awareness and self-regulation, social-emotional learning helps reduce the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviours such as substance abuse, violence, and bullying.
  5. Cultivation of empathy and understanding: Social-emotional learning teaches students to be empathetic and understanding towards themselves and others. This helps create a more inclusive and compassionate society, reducing prejudice and promoting social justice.

Overall, social-emotional learning is crucial in education because it nurtures the whole child, promoting their social, emotional, and academic development, and equipping them with skills that are vital for their personal and professional success.

Final Thoughts

Social and emotional learning (SEL) supports the holistic development of students. It fosters their emotional well-being, academic performance, and overall life skills, enabling students to thrive in school and beyond.

To truly support and nurture the full potential of students — academically, spiritually, socially, and emotionally — we must always strive to prioritise the values of SEL.

At Townsville Catholic Education Office, we pride ourselves on supprting schools across the Townsville Diocese wherein education provides successful social-emotional learning and development. To learn more about the Townsville Catholic Education Office Mission, get in touch with our friendly team today.

More on this topic

Back to Articles