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Social and Emotional Learning- Empathy Through Education

Social and Emotional Learning – Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education.
  • GS Paper 4:
    • Ethics and Human Interface- Role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values;
    • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.

Road Accidents in India – NCRB Report 2020


Social and Emotional Learning – Background

  • Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is an important facet of education in India as mentions in the latest National Education Policy (NEP-2020).

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Social and Emotional Learning- Empathy Through Education

  • Definition of Social and Emotional Learning: SEL is the process of learning to recognize and manage emotions and navigate social situations effectively.
  • Importance of SEL: It supports skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity among students which is as important as numeracy and literacy (central aims of NEP 2020).
    • SEL is foundational for-
      • Human development,
      • Building healthy relationships,
      • Having self and social awareness,
      • Solving problems,
      • Making responsible decisions, and
      • Academic learning.
    • Research finds that students with greater social skills and emotional regulation are more likely to have success.
  • Key Elements of SEL: Key elements of SEL include cultivating ‘empathy’ and ‘theory of mind’.
    • Empathy: It is the ability to understand another person’s emotions and be aware of why they might be feeling those emotions from their perspective.
    • Theory of Mind: It is the ability to understand others’ intentions, knowledge and beliefs and recognize that those might be different from your own.
  • Impact of Covid-19 led school closure:
    • Negative Impact: school closures reduced opportunities for students to deepen social relationships and learn collaboratively in shared physical spaces.
    • Positive Impact: Remote learning gave parents the opportunity to discover their children’s social and emotional lives.

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Social and Emotional Learning-Way Forward

  • Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) should be integrated with the larger curriculum rather than just being added as a chapter in it.
    • It is vital to consider that the learning process is a social and emotional experience.
  • Develop an Indian SEL framework: This should be based on the following-
    • Application of SEL practices should be based on students’ socioeconomic backgrounds,
    • SEL strategies of caretakers and educators must align with one another,
    • Long-term success requires SEL to be based on scientific evidence.
  • Role of Policymakers: policymakers have to ensure that future changes prioritize “inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”


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