Social-emotional skills drive success at school and afterward at labor market
Strong social-emotional skills drive better academic performance and long-term well-being. Today, social-emotional learning is among the most requested courses by homeschooling parents worldwide.
Mathematics, science, language, arts are subject areas that people typically reply to as essential to learn at school. Today, more people also include skills like communication, collaboration, empathy, and listening to others as skills they wish their children would learn at school. Indeed these so-called life skills can be learned, even though teaching them differs from teaching academic subjects. Nevertheless, being empathetic, creative, and persistent is continuous practice and learning.
Research has provided more and more evidence of the importance of social-emotional skills and their development at schools. The most recent is the international OECD study “Beyond Academic Learning”, where academic success and good social-emotional skills are linked (*). In other words, a child who is good at social-emotional skills will more likely do well in school also academically. For example, children who are strong in curiosity and persistence perform better at mathematics and reading.
These aspects are, of course, essential, but more importantly, the benefits of developing children’s social-emotional skills go beyond just the school performance. They are also important drivers of mental health and prospects in the labor market. Social-emotional skills are not critical just because they improve academic performance but are a crucial developmental outcome in their own right.
Generally, children learn social-emotional skills at a brick-and-mortar school in group settings every day because they have to learn to compromise, wait for their turn, listen to others, respect differences and solve conflicts peacefully. But even this is not enough; to ensure results, these skills need to be taught systematically, consistently from early childhood education and throughout life.
We also must ensure that homeschooling and other remotely learning children develop their social-emotional skills.
A recent study about remote teaching found out that integrating social-emotional content into the online curriculum enhanced students’ emotional well-being and motivated them to spend more time on the learning platform (**).
One might ask how it is even possible to learn social-emotional skills online, but again, a systematic approach works here. Within months, Mightifier program teachers have seen students become more aware of who they are, recognize their strengths, and practice empathy by offering emotional peer support for others in their groups. These results are possible without ever meeting fellow students in real life.
Developing social-emotional skills is a crucial task that every person will face at some point in their life. It is much easier to start young with a professional teacher than dealing with a lack of social skills in one’s first job. By focusing on these skills as early as possible and systematically continuing learning through the school years, we provide our children with a critical toolset to navigate life successfully, happily, and healthily.
By Laura-Maria Sinisalo, Pedagogical Lead of Mightifier
On Mightifier courses, students learn to:
Recognize and practice character strengths, like curiosity, persistence, and collaboration
Understand and manage their emotions, like fear and anger
Work in a team, listen, and appreciate each other
Understand the consequences of their actions to others
Bonus: Students get to know and practice friendship skills with a group of like-minded students!
- In the long-term, strong social-emotional skills 2.
- Support better overall well-being and mental health
- Affect future employability