What is Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)?

What is Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)?

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) reflects the critical role of positive relationships and emotional connections in the learning process and helps students develop a range of skills they need for school and life. SEL skills include the ability to:


  • set and achieve positive goals

  • feel and show empathy for others

  • establish and maintain positive relationships

  • make responsible decisions

  • understand and manage emotions


All of these skills are necessary—both for educators and students—to function well in the classroom, in the community, and in college and careers.

While many teachers instinctively know that SEL is important, historically schools have been primarily focused on teaching academic content such as reading, math, science, and history, and less intentional about supporting the social and emotional skills that are so important to learning and life success.

There is a growing body of research proving that SEL is fundamental to academic success, and must be woven into the work of every teacher in every classroom and every after-school and summer learning program, if we truly want to prepare all our students for college and careers. In order to support the whole child’s development and growth in the MTSS Framework, Classworks includes three important elements in the application. These are:


  • Student SMART goal setting with embedded student-teacher communication

  • A social and emotional competency/school climate survey

  • Daily Observations to support effective and transparent positive behavioral and intervention supports (PBIS)


We are all learning together how best to encourage student social emotional learning alongside academic progress. In order to support the whole child’s development and growth in the MTSS Framework, Classworks resources were designed with both educators and students in mind -- to really offer a complete picture of the student.

The Classworks SEL tools of SMART goal setting, Social-emotional survey, and Observations for PBIS are designed to live alongside the student’s academic data. When paired with the intervention data, academic screening results, and progress monitoring graphs, educators are confident they have a complete view of the student when making important decisions about supporting excellence for all.

    • Related Articles

    • Social and Emotional Competency Surveys in Classworks

      Student surveys are an excellent tool for supporting development of the whole student. Educators want to be aware of the discrete skills that contribute to students’ overall social-emotional development and well-being. Stating that a student has ...
    • How can teachers/administrators view student SE Survey Results?

      Teachers can use the Social-Emotional Skills Survey (SESS) to gain valuable insight into the whole student. The survey measures global social-emotional competencies as well as eight subdomains. This is a student-facing survey for students in grades ...
    • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

      Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) developed as a multi-tiered framework to teach positive social and cognitive behaviors. PBIS provides strategies for students to engage in the classroom by setting behavioral expectations, ...
    • How do students access the SE Survey?

      The Social-Emotional Survey from Classworks is a student-facing check-in survey for students in grades 4-12 (teachers submit a survey for students in grades PreK-3) and is available in both English and Spanish. Students PreK - 3rd Grade For students ...
    • Creating SMART Goals based on Student SE Survey Results

      The Classworks SE Survey provides an opportunity for students to think through a variety of scenarios and mark if they find them very difficult, difficult, easy, or very easy. This data is then reported back to the teacher. The next step is for ...