Skip to main content
Female teacher assisting an elementary student with an assignment

Social and Emotional Learning

Social and Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply their knowledge, skills, and attitudes to manage emotions, collaborate, achieve personal goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. Well-implemented school programs designed to foster SEL are associated with many positive outcomes, ranging from better test scores and higher graduation rates to improved social behavior and mental wellness. 

A positive school climate—including a safe and inclusive environment, strong student and staff relationships, and integrated supports for learning—provides the foundation that students need to develop the social, emotional, and academic competencies they need to succeed in life. The Learning Policy Institute works to conduct and disseminate research on applying SEL across a variety of educational policies and practices.

Social and emotional learning graphic