Social-emotional learning

Through the process of social-emotional learning (SEL) students develop self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are important for school, work and life outcomes. Social-emotional competence helps students cope with everyday challenges and improves learning and wellbeing.

SEL develops understanding and skills to:

  • nurture a positive sense of self
  • promote respectful relationships
  • build capacity to manage emotions, behaviours and interactions with others.

Five broad skill areas

There are five broad areas of social and emotional learning that can be modelled and reinforced through incidental and explicit teaching. They should be integrated across all key learning areas to enhance existing skills and promote new ones.

Recognising and understanding our feelings and our strengths.

Regulating and expressing our emotions appropriately.

Understanding what others are feeling, being able to take their perspective and appreciating and interacting positively with diverse groups.

Establishing and maintaining healthy relationships, constructively resolving interpersonal conflict and seeking help when needed.

Being aware of the consequences for ourselves and others when we make decisions.

SEL skills are reflected in a range of programs that promote working collaboratively, showing respect for others and managing emotions and behaviour. These programs support students across the care continuum and include:

  • social skills programs that target cooperative learning, collaboration, positive peer relations and emotional regulation
  • classroom management strategies that focus on teacher behaviour, student behaviour and teacher-student relationships
  • mindfulness-based programs, including cognitive-behavioural strategies and relaxation skills
  • programs that aim to develop personal and social skills such as problem-solving, conflict resolution, responsible decision-making and self-esteem building.

More information

Australian Curriculum Personal and Social Capabilities.

Information, resources and professional learning on Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) website.

Be You Programs Directory can help you find the right evidence based program to support social and emotional learning and promote positive mental health.

Inclusive Practice hub resources, particularly social skills (primary), social skills (secondary)

Achieving School Excellence in Wellbeing and Inclusion resources including social wellbeing strategies and emotional wellbeing strategies

The Student Wellbeing external programs catalogue ensures schools can easily access quality assured student wellbeing programs that contribute to improved learning, wellbeing and life outcomes for students.

Links to resources

Social-emotional learning lessons for K-2 (PDF 312.7KB).

Professional learning

Be You has modules in the Learning Resilience domain that provide an in-depth understanding of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and how to intentionally teach SEL skills. The modules contribute to one hour of NSW Education Standards Authority registered professional learning.

Online Training Australia understanding and supporting student behaviour explores what is meant by difficult behaviour, how teacher practice can influence student behaviour and how positive classroom management practices support the learning and behaviour needs of all students.

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