Engaging minds and hearts: Social and emotional learning in English Language Arts
This article explores English Language Arts (ELA) as the most appropriate venue for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Using the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) model of SEL, the author explores the evidence in the literature that there is a natural affinity between ELA content and SEL objectives and that an SEL lens would promote and improve student engagement and facilitate mutually beneficial impacts. The complimentary nature of methods and objectives in ELA and SEL facilitates adaption and minimal disruption to ELA curriculum. Reviewing existing ELA-based SEL programs and examples from the literature of successful integration of SEL concepts by teachers, the author makes a case for developing unscripted, versatile, and integrated approaches to SEL that builds on teacher expertise and student feedback. Additionally, the author outlines the opportunities for integrated learning presented in the BC ELA curriculum. A case is made for a truly integrated model being necessary for creating a fundamental and lasting culture shift towards embedded SEL. Future research directions are discussed.
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