Student Voices: Social Emotional Learning Can Create a Culture of Understanding in Schools

This essay is part of The Seattle Times’ Student Voices program for youth writers.

When students step inside educational institutions, we cannot leave our outside lives behind. Even if all classes were taught the same, placing equal expectations and standards for all, this would not account for the disparate experiences outside of school that foment the inequity from within.

Never once was I simply asked if I was OK. Never once did I feel safe to honestly express my concerns or ask for the support I needed. Over time I became closed off, sitting through class dispassionately and withholding my misery from within. Throughout my childhood school treated me like a problem. Never once did it help me find a solution.

If schools expect students to care about learning, then they must show care for our well-being. We need to abandon the thinking that one’s personal life is autonomous from their academic one. Researchers have documented how poverty and classroom engagement are interconnected.

There must be genuine, continual efforts on behalf of schools to explore methods of integrating Social Emotional Learning into school culture and awareness. SEL techniques can help students recognize their emotions, manage them, gain social awareness, make responsible decisions, and establish healthy relationships.

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Also Read: How to Support Your Teen’s Social and Emotional Needs


(Photo: Jason Rosewell – Unsplash)