Are Educators Using SEL to Empower or to Manipulate?

Summary:  This article provides a counterpoint to the Aspen Institute Report that sees SEL as a tool to increase student academic achievement.  The authors posit that teaching SEL skills is really about promoting student mental health and well-being.

Source:  Dr. Henry G. Brzycki and Elaine J. Brizycki, eSchool News, February 18, 2019

Description:  “Our 30 years of experience researching, teaching, and implementing social-emotional learning (SEL) has established that the purpose of SEL is to produce mental health and well-being outcomes for children. However, the current level of thinking about SEL in education is primarily focused on producing academic outcomes.  An example of this level of thinking is The Aspen Institute-sponsored National Commission on Social Emotional & Academic Development report, From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope, published in January.  While we agree that the time has come to fully integrate SEL into our schools, the report calls for using SEL as a tool to make students achieve more academically. We see that as a form of child manipulation. The report falls short of what is needed to address mental health and well-being needs.

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