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Why is personal and social development important?

Promoting Students' Personal and Social Development Boosts Academic Outcomes, a Guest Blog by Joseph Durlak

Director of Programming and Innovation

Editor's Note: Today's blogger is Dr Joseph Durlak, lead author of a recent study, "The Impact of Enhancing Students" Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions, " published in the January-February 2011 issue of Child Development.

Joe Durlak

At a time when pressures on educators to improve students' academic achievement seem to have reached a boiling point, one program category, social and emotional learning, has produced academic gains that equal the results of many programs focused exclusively on academics.

Important Findings

This is one of the most important findings from a far-reaching review of social and emotional learning programs for which I was the principal investigator. I led the multi-year study, funded primarily by the W.T. Grant Foundation, as a professor of psychology at Loyola University Chicago. Working closely with me were Roger P. Weissberg, professor of education and psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and graduate students at both Loyola and UIC. Dr. Weissberg is also president and CEO of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on advancing research, practice, and policy in social and emotional learning. The study was published in the January-February 2011 issue of Child Development.1

Broad and Diverse Group

Our work consisted of a detailed review of the outcomes of 213 social and emotional learning programs involving a broadly representative group of 270, 034 students from urban, suburban, and rural elementary and secondary schools. The common thread in all of them was a focus on developing young people's skills that promote social and emotional learning. Social and emotional learning refers to the process students go through in acquiring skills to recognize and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, appreciate the perspectives of others, establish and maintain positive relationships, make responsible decisions, and handle interpersonal situations effectively.



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Related facts

  • Psychology (from Greek: ψυχή, psukhē, "spirit, soul"; and λόγος, logos, "knowledge") is an academic or applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. Psychologists study such phenomena as perception, cognition, emotion...
  • Psychology (from Greek: ψυχή, psukhē, "spirit, soul"; and λόγος, logos, "knowledge") is an academic or applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. Psychologists study such phenomena as perception, cognition, emotion...

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