“Emotional intelligence” and “social and emotional learning” are terms parents may hear bandied about by teachers and education leaders. And as kids throughout the country muddle through schooling during a pandemic, honing these skills is especially important, experts say.
But if you only have a vague idea of what emotional intelligence (EI) and social and emotional learning (SEL) mean and why they matter, you’re not alone. Put simply, EI is the ability to identify and manage your emotions and the emotions of others. SEL refers to a process in which children acquire emotional intelligence, develop empathy for others, and learn problem-solving skills.
Before the pandemic, SEL was gaining traction in schools, especially as research has shown that students who manage their emotions perform better academically and have fewer disciplinary issues. Now, as COVID-19 continues and many schools are employing all or partially remote formats, the philosophies associated with SEL are vital in helping students cope.
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