Responsible Decision-Making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.Social and emotional competence provides a foundation for academic success (Zins et al., 2004).Evidence-based programs designed to promote positive outcomes and prevent problem behavior in students are increasingly being used in educational settings.
This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.
Social Awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
Relationship Skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups.
This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.
Leadership practices and organizational structures also influence the climate of a school, thereby indirectly influencing student outcomes.
In schools characterized by supportive relationships, common goals and norms, and a sense of collaboration, students perform better academically and have fewer behavior problems (Bryk & Schneider, 2002; Payne et al., 2003).Although research suggests that course completion and grades in middle school are the strongest predictors of high school performance and graduation (Farrington et al., 2012), there is increasing evidence that social and emotional competence is also critically important.Interventions that promote SEL promote academic performance (Durlak et al., 2011).Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.Social and emotional skills are critical to being a good student, citizen, and worker, and many risky behaviors (e.g., drug use, violence, bullying and dropping out) can be prevented or reduced when multiyear, integrated efforts are used to develop students' social and emotional skills.Several recent publications on college and career readiness, deeper learning, and 21st-century skills cite personal and social competencies, often called “noncognitive skills,” as fundamental to students’ level of engagement in middle and high school, their post-secondary performance and completion, and their workplace success (ACT, 2014; National Research Council, 2012).