We like measuring things. We like things that are easily measured. Whether it’s grades, test scores, or how long it takes a student to complete an assignment, this data offers a seemingly satisfying way to decide academic success.
But what determines a student’s actual success is not always so quantifiable. What also matters are how a student manages emotions, builds relationships, sets goals, and makes responsible decisions; in other words, the healthy mindsets and habits that make achievement possible. These so-called “soft skills” often set the course for a student’s success in school, outside of school, and in life.
While educators are starting to recognize the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL), incorporating it into curricula is not a one-size-fits-all task. SEL curricula needs to be sensitive to the culture and community around a school. Fortunately, a handful of i-lab ventures are finding ways to help schools incorporate SEL in ways that are tailored to their students’ needs.