CURMUDGUCATION: What Is The Actual Purpose of Social and Emotional Learning
I'm increasingly convinced that one of the reasons social and emotional learning (SEL) is such a matter of contention in education (and it has been, every time it has been it has been brought up under one guise or another) is that it requires us to look at the places where education bumps up against the really big questions-- what is the purpose of education? why are we here? what is our purpose? what is the meaning of life? That stuff.
SEL advocates generally back away from that, and it leads to discussions of SEL that are ridiculous.
Here's CASEL, the big mac daddy of the SEL biz, listing the benefits of SEL, in order: academic outcomes and improved behaviors, long-term improvement in academics and conduct problems, 11;1 return on investment, reduce poverty (as in the poverty of individuals as in you'll make more money), improves life outcomes (eg not being on waiting list for public housing).
Lots of folks like to cite a research finding that SEL "improves achievement by an average of 11 percentile points, which is an odd thing to tout; since percentiles are rankings, if everybody received this benefit, nobody would receive this benefit.
Even when research is more well-balanced, many folks writing about that research tend to focus on things like how SEL will "have long-term academic benefits on students' reading and vocabulary" and CONTINUE READING: CURMUDGUCATION: What Is The Actual Purpose of Social and Emotional Learning