Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Originally posted on December 31, 2010

There’s a trend towards introducing practical psychology in the schools—under the term, "social and emotional learning" or SEL. I have known some of its pioneering people and been to some conferences and am most eager to promote this. (Some resources are linked here on my website.)I wouldn’t be surprise if some practitioners mangle the method—that happens with every innovation—but on the whole I think this is a good thing—something that people should know about, ask their local school systems to integrate.

This was stimulated by an email from a friend: "Speaking as a grandparent, not a scholar: My grandkids, kindergarten and second grade, have been taking a program called Second Step in the Amherst, MA, public schools.  I learned about it when the older boy, then in first grade, told us on the phone that he felt "ambivalent" about a teacher’s aide leaving; on the one hand, he was glad that she was getting her own classroom, on the other, he was sad that she was leaving. When the astonished grandparents mentioned it to our daughter-in-law, she laughed and said that was the lesson of the week in Second Step. Another great SS story: my farmer son had some cows wander out of a pasture and on to a road one night. The Amherst bicycle cop came by to help herd them back. Younger grandchild: "Why were the police there? Were they going to arrest the cows?" Older son (then 7): "No, the cows haven’t had Second Step and don’t know about Impulse Control."

3 Responses to “Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)”

  • Mitch Lyons says:

    I have been working toward getting SEL in MA schools for a while and would love your assistance in lobbying your legislators about it. Please feel free to get in touch with me.

  • Great stories here that help to widen the circles for SEL (to include grandparents and others). One of CASEL’s goals is that SEL becomes a household word so that families and schools together recognize its value for kids’ learning. Your stories help that effort.

    And it’s great to see that Mitch Lyons, another friend of CASEL’s, has written in too. Some of the best SEL implementation comes from grass roots efforts and there are strong seeds in MA.

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