• What Is Social Emotional Learning?

    Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

    Powerful Evidence Supports the Impact of Enhancing Students' SEL

    Research shows that SEL can have a positive impact on school climate and promote a host of academic, social, and emotional benefits for students.  Research of SEL in schools indicates that students receiving quality SEL instruction demonstrated:

    • Better academic performance: achievement scores an average of 11 percentile points higher than students who did not receive SEL instruction
    • Improved attitudes and behaviors: greater motivation to learn, deeper commitment to school, increased time devoted to schoolwork, and better classroom behavior; 
    • Fewer negative behaviors: decreased disruptive class behavior, noncompliance, aggression, delinquent acts, and disciplinary referrals; and 
    • Reduced emotional distress: fewer reports of student depression, anxiety, stress, and social withdrawal. 

    Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning

    CASEL is the nation’s leading authority on Social Emotional Learning.

    Formed over two decades ago, CASEL is a collaborative made up of educators, mental health experts, researchers and other stakeholders whose mission is to improve outcomes for all students in grades PreK-12.  Their CASEL website has an abundance of information and resources related to Social Emotional Learning.




    CASEL recognizes 5 CORE competency areas for social emotional learning which are outlined and explained below.

    CASEL’s 5 Social Emotional Competencies and related Skills

    sel table  

    Visit the CASEL website for more on the 5 Core Competencies including videos of each in action.  

    The Arizona Department of Education, recognizing the importance of social emotional learning for ALL students, has established resources and systems to address SEL in Arizona Schools.  More information can be found on the ADE webpage for SEL. In August 2020, ADE released formal Arizona Social and Emotional Learning Competencies in alignment with CASEL in order to provide a guiding framework and research base from which AZ schools can implement SEL practices and deliver SEL instruction. In addition, the Arizona Early Learning Standards which provide a framework for the planning of quality early learning experiences for all children three to five years of age does include specific Social Emotional Learning standards for preschool children.