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.

Author Biography

Meaghan Storey, University of Victoria

Meaghan Storey is a Ph.D. Candidate and sessional instructor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. She is an experienced middle/secondary teacher and school counsellor with a background in dispute resolution. Her research interests include social and emotional learning, language and literacy, twenty first century competencies, and teacher education.




How to Cite

Storey, M. (2019). Engaging minds and hearts: Social and emotional learning in English Language Arts. Language and Literacy, 21(1), 122–139. https://doi.org/10.20360/langandlit29355