What does the research say?
Several hundred studies conducted using experimental designs with control groups have documented the positive effects of SEL programming on children of diverse backgrounds from preschool through high school in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Some of the best reviews of this body of research have been done by Greenberg, et al., 2003; and Zins, et al., 2004). Joe Durlak of Loyola University (Chicago) and Roger Weissberg of the University of Illinois at Chicago have recently completed a research synthesis of 300 studies of such programs. The research clearly demonstrates that SEL programming significantly improves children’s academic performance on standardized tests. Moreover, compared to control groups, children who have participated in SEL programs have significantly better school attendance records, less disruptive classroom behaviour, like school more, and perform better in school. The research also indicates that children who have participated in SEL programs are less likely than children in control groups to be suspended or otherwise disciplined. These outcomes have been achieved through SEL’s impact on important mental health variables that improve children’s social relationships, increase their attachment to school and motivation to learn, and reduce anti-social, violent, and drug-using behaviours. The research also indicates that SEL programs with the best outcomes are multi-year in duration, use interactive rather than purely knowledge-based instructional methods, and are integrated into the life of the school rather than being implemented as marginal add-ons. (CASEL, Safe and Sound, 2005)
If you are not yet convinced that SEL is the best investment you can make for your school, read the international and COOL TO BE ME research reports below.