Social-emotion education is an instruction practice that incorporates emotional and social skills into the elementary school curriculum. It is part of the curriculum focused on emotional intelligence, which aims to enhance children’s learning and emotional intelligence competencies. The acronym SEL stands for specific involvement, knowledge, and skills. It includes: Sensory Integration, Self-Regulation, Interpersonal Relationships, Appreciation, Creative Thinking, Role-playing, Conflict Management, and Moment Recognition. SEL curriculum lays emphasis on the different behaviors that contribute to a child’s emotional intelligence; however, emotional intelligence is not the only important component of this curriculum. The acronym also emphasizes the ways that teachers can incorporate these components into their classrooms in order to bring out the best in students.
As part of emotional intelligence curriculum, teachers also teach students how to manage their emotions and learn to manage conflict zones. Conflict zones are areas where children are emotionally engaged with an adult or another student and may be caused by an event, a person, or a situation. These emotional and behavioral challenges can prevent children from developing authentic social and interpersonal relationships. Controlling emotions and learning to defuse conflict zones in the classroom helps students understand how to handle themselves in difficult situations and more importantly, how to diffuse conflict when they arise. This is the importance of emotional education.
Another aspect of emotional education curriculum is the development of skills related to emotional expression. Emotional expression refers to the ability to recognize, understand, and choose one’s own feelings, and how to express those feelings through words, speech, and body language. Children learn about their emotional experiences through story telling, modeling, and role playing. This natural educational practice also teaches children how to develop and manage their feelings.
Another aspect of emotional education is developing the skills needed to deal with emotional experiences that result from trauma or abuse. Emotional trauma is a result of living in a world where unresolved issues are allowed to persist and develop into dysfunctional behaviors and patterns. It is necessary for emotional education programs to teach healthy ways of relating to these unresolved issues. For example, it is common for many children to express anger as a means of coping with negative emotions such as fear, loss, and sadness. However, unresolved stress can cause a child to turn to destructive behavior patterns such as violence or self-harm. By teaching healthy ways of dealing with these emotions, emotional education helps children gain control over their emotional experience and learn how to deal with them appropriately.
The last component of emotional education deals with the process of learning how to manage one’s emotional state and emotions as a result of learning and growing. This concept is very important because emotional states can be triggered by many different experiences and events in a person’s life. This process of emotional management is related to the concept of mindfulness, which is the ability to observe things with an open mind and an attitude of awareness. It is not enough for emotional education programs to simply teach a child how to feel; they must also teach a child how to manage his or her emotional state. The resulting awareness that comes from being able to manage one’s emotions is referred to as empathetic skills.
Empathy is one of the key elements to emotional education. People who lack empathetic skills are often those who fail to take the time to understand the feelings and thoughts of others. As a result, those who do not learn to manage their emotions can experience negative self-image and low self-esteem. By introducing emotional education into a child’s life, educators can help them develop skills in managing their emotions as well as building self-awareness and a sense of compassion.