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Why Do We Need Social-Emotional Learning Anyway?

The majority of children in our country feel good about themselves; manage their emotions well; communicate clearly without whining, and know how to resolve conflicts without yelling or using their fists. Bullying and school violence is on the decline, as is lying, cheating, and substance use.

Parents and teachers have been seen smiling on a regular basis. A student I interviewed gushed, "Things are great. School is so much fun, and my grades rock. Everyone talks to me, and I've got some really great friends. I'm even getting along with my parents - we can actually talk! Who would've thought?!"

A pipe dream? A fantasy drummed up by a blogger who wants to get your attention? Well, partly. But also a true possibility. The above scenario can be a reality. Building their social-emotional wisdom, we can truly help children make informed, effective choices; meet their needs in positive ways; become caring, participatory citizens, and the best people they can possible be.

Colleges and employers are increasingly seeking prospective students and employees with a high level of social-emotional intelligence. Good grades and basic job skills are no longer enough. Committing to building social-emotional understanding and skills can maximize the development of students who will be well prepared for their futures and who will excel academically.

There is increasing research that indicates a strong link between academic performance and social-emotional learning. Additionally, youngsters who build social-emotional competencies build resilience and are less likely to be involved in risky behaviors.

Over a series of posts, this blog will outline the process through which we can build social-emotional wisdom, increasing understanding and providing effective approaches and tools.

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