Social-Emotional Learning has gained a massive global significance in the recent years. International bodies and associations have remarkably highlighted the importance of practicing SEL. The National Commission for Social,  Emotional, and Academic Development  (The United States) has called attention to the promotion of SEL, and called it a ‘substance’ of education. Also,  the World Economic Forum  brought to the world’s notice, the fact that SEL will play a major role in preparing the students for future workplaces.

What is Social Emotional Learning that has drawn the attention of experts, education columnists, and NGOs across the globe?

Social means Relating to society, and Emotional means with regard to a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationship with others (Oxford). Essentially, Social Emotional Learning thus involves learning or developing skills on both internal (mental) and external (social) levels that results in an integrated growth of an individual.

According to Committee for Children, a global non-profit organization that pioneers in SEL, “Social-Emotional Learning is the process of developing self–awareness, Self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success.” Developing a high Emotional Quotient (EQ) is therefore invariably a crucial element of SEL.

Emotional Intelligence is our ability to understand, name, control and manage, our own emotions and that of others. Following are the five main components of Emotional Intelligence:

  1. Self-Awareness: It is our ability to observe our own emotions in an unbiased and objective manner. It helps us in identifying and naming our emotions rather than experiencing the vagueness of merely feeling them.
  2. Self-Regulation: Every emotion creates an Impulse, causing a person to act in a certain manner. The ability to control and regulate impulsive actions that are triggered by a certain set of emotions is called Self-Regulation.
  3. Motivation: Motivation is our ability to use our own emotion for a purpose. According to Woodworth, Motivation is the state of an individual which disposes him to certain behaviour for seeking a goal. It is a psychological and emotional state in which a person’s performance is at its best.
  4. Empathy: It is the ability to explore and understand the emotion of others, by perceiving oneself to be in the position of another person. People who are empathic show a deep sense of understanding towards others, and hence do not face least conflicts.  Martin Hoffman, a renowned psychologist explains Empathy as “one of the root-cause of our morality and altruistic (selfless) behaviour. Because it is in empathising with the potential victims, and in sharing their pain, that we are moved to act in order to help them.”
  5. Relationship building skills: These are also known as Social Skills.  They have the ability to connect with other people through the means of Interaction, Communication. It boosts the development of one’s personality, and helps one be effectively expressive given any social, academic, or professional setting. 

Benefits of SEL

Social- Emotional Learning is an inevitable part of a child’s growth and upbringing, missing out on which is absolutely unaffordable. It plays a key role in nurturing mental health of a child, ensuring a positive fruitful transition into adolescence.  It helps them in dealing with their emotional turmoil such as anxiety, trauma, by practicing self-awareness, and learning to identify, regulate their own emotions. While motivation leads them to utilise their potential to the fullest, developing social skills such as interaction, communication results in a healthy and productive group environment. Further, it is Social- Emotional Learning through which the building of 21St century skills is possible.

SEL with Muskurahat

With the increasing global emphasis on SEL, a large number of schools have made it a part of their curriculum. Parents, caretakers, guardians have also developed a sense of awareness in that regard. However, to children in a developing country like India, where a vast majority of them have either not gone to schools, or are a part of informal education, SEL is far from reality. These underprivileged kids are also victims of pathogenic family conditions which further aggravates their trauma, taking a heavy toll on their mental health.

Muskurahat Foundation, a Mumbai based NGO is working relentlessly in correcting this major distortion in the lives of the deserved but underserved. Not just that, it is laying an equivalent focus on developing 21st Century skills, which will help them recognize and achieve their milestones.

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