10 things adults say about the importance of social-emotional learning post-COVID

Teachers and administrators are increasingly concerned that depression and isolation have convinced a significant number of students to “give up” on school, a new report has found. 
By: | October 8, 2021
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Teachers and administrators are increasingly concerned that depression and isolation have convinced a significant number of students to “give up” on school, a new report has found.

The educators surveyed also reported that student confidence has plummeted as many children have disengaged from schoolwork, according to the “2021 Social and Emotional Learning Report” by McGraw Hill and Hanover Research.

The survey shed light on how COVID-19 has affected groups of students in different ways. For instance, educators in low-income and urban school districts were more likely to report that students’ grades and test scores have fallen during the pandemic.

These educators also said the lack of physical connection with other students and teachers did the greatest harm to students’ wellbeing.

Almost all the educators polled said SEL is vital in helping students develop skills such as self-awareness, relationship building, self-management, responsible decision-making and social awareness. SEL also helps prevent bullying, increases school safety, and improves teacher-student relationships.

And the survey also endeavored to highlight the importance of connecting social-emotional learning to academic achievement as schools and students attempt to recover from COVID even as infections are still spreading.

Here are more of the report’s key findings:

  • 53% of educators said COVID-19 and the shift to remote learning have caused students to suffer emotional distress and created attendance problems.
  • Parental awareness of SEL has significantly increased in just the past three years, climbing to 69% compared to 46% in 2018.
  • 56% of educators report that their school has begun implementing an SEL plan
  • Schools and districts in urban areas were more likely to have moved to full-time online/remote learning (51%) compared to those in suburban (39%) and rural (29%) areas.
  • Educators believe that SEL will provide benefits such as reduced behavioral problems (96%), improved grades (91%) and less emotional distress (95%).
  • 81% of parents said SEL is not emphasized enough and 82%, said it has become more important since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • 80% of parents said SEL is beneficial for children learning online
  • 84% of educators believe that incorporating SEL into the core curriculum has become more important during the pandemic.

“The research is clear: Social and emotional learning is a critical component to student success and wellbeing generally, and especially now as we navigate between online and in-person experiences,” said Sean Ryan, president of McGraw Hill’s school group.

“Across the board,” Ryan added, “parents, teachers and administrators recognize the significant impact SEL has on academic achievement and student motivation, and we are committed to providing SEL resources that support everyone connected to the classroom.”