A Fine Balance: Social Emotional Learning and Academic Rigour in Schools

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Desjardins, Kimberly
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In recent decades, there has been a push towards academic rigour in schools in the form of standardized testing, school ratings, and holding teachers accountable to deliver an unprecedented number of prescribed learning outcomes. The goal has been to provide students with the skills they need to thrive within the 21st century school walls and beyond. What educators, students, parents, administrators, and counsellors have found in the interim is that through the focus on academic rigour there has been a lack of emphasis on social emotional learning (SEL) in the explicit curriculum. Numerous studies have shown that social emotional learning is imperative to the well being of students. As a movement, however, exactly what SEL is, why it should be implemented, and how it should be implemented, is still a topic of discussion. Schools have struggled to implement programs successfully and also have failed to record data that supports the idea that SEL programs provide measurable outcomes for both the students and school community. In this capstone project, I sought to explore what the canon of research defines as SEL, what the various reasons are for schools to implement SEL, and what current research is warning schools to consider when implementing an SEL program.
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess