Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Theory In the Classroom
Louisiana has a draft of standards to promote self-regulation, positive self-identity, self-reliance, respect for others, and interpersonal relationships (Pastorek, 2010). The first standard addresses self-regulation. It is important in education that teachers prepare individuals for lifetime future challenges (Dewey, 1997). Self-regulation is the process that allows us to trigger and maintain our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions in order to reach our goals (Bandura, 1997). Goals that include learning are classified as self-regulated learning (Schunk, 2004).
The skill and motivation to learn with little guidance from teachers is a goal the state of Louisiana plans to address through the standards geared at pre-k children (Pastorek, 2010). Teachers that implement this standard are working to prepare the student with the ability to learn independently (Pastorek, 2010). In high school, our goal must involve ensuring that graduates have mastered the skills of self-initiated and directed learning. It takes a combination of academic learning skills and self-control to build the competence to continue the self-regulation process (Bandura, 1997). High school students need to be able to transform their mental abilities into academic skills and strategies.
Teachers and students are the main stakeholders in self-regulation (Schunk, 2004). Together they create an atmosphere that initiates metacognitive use, problem solving, and motivation (Schunk, 2004). However, children begin learning self-regulation at home (Bandura, 1997). Parents are their child’s first teacher. Parents play a support role by guiding self-regulated learning learning. The family and school interconnect to strengthen skills for motivated self -guided learning.
Social cognitive theory includes the two key elements of self-efficacy and self- regulated learning (Bandura, 1997). Albert Bandura (1977) emphasized that individuals learn by watching others actions and consequences. In the classroom, the teacher demonstrates self-efficacy as a means to drive learning. Bandura (1997) stated that internal and external environments influence learning. Reciprocal determinism is the interaction of the individual, the environment, and behavior in learning setting (Bandura, 1997). In reciprocal determinism, social, environmental, behavioral, and personal forces are influenced by each other (Bandura, 1997).
In self-regulated learning there is a continuum of processes that the learner experiences. First, the individual is presented with a task (Schunk, 2004). To address the assignment, he or she first analyzes the parameters of what resources and skills are involved to accomplish the task. Understanding what it takes to complete an assignment feeds the process of setting goals (Schunk, 2004). In goal setting, the individual considers the effort and time involved to master the task. Therefore, choosing goals involve selecting the method in which the individual plans to address the task. During the implementation of the plan, the individual assesses if the chosen plan is successful or a failure. In the regulating stage, a decision is made based on the conclusion of the assessment (Schunk, 2004). Revamping a plan would be necessary if the individual is unsuccessful; however, a change could be made on any of the other steps in the process.
High school students are engaged in metacognitive strategies in many of their courses. It is purposeful for each student to have mastered self-regulated learning to complete assignments that may involve thematic projects. Frustration becomes an issue in the classroom when students feel overwhelmed with complex tasks. Teachers can ensure students reach their maximum cognitive abilities by reinforcing the importance of self-regulation and self-efficacy among parents and their students (Bandura, 1997).
Creating standards for pre-k classrooms to equip students to become self-regulated learners may have significant impact on future achievement gap issues. Once self-regulation becomes standard in each classroom, teachers can focus on teaching curriculum and students can focus on learning. As future self-regulated learning graduates evolve, the educative process can be evaluated to determine its impact.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W.H. Freeman.
Dewey, J. (1997). Experience and Education. Free Press.
Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405-432. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01564.x
Dusenbury, L., Zadrazil, J., Mart, A., & Weissberg, R. (2011) The State Scan of Social and Emotional Learning Standards, Preschool through High School, University of Illinois at Chicago. http://casel.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Forum-Brief-on-the-State-Scan-5-10-2011.pdf
Pastorek, P. (2010, September). Louisiana standards for serving four-year old children. Retrieved October 09, 2011, from Louisana Department of Education: www.louisianaschools.net/lde/uploads.17057.pdf
Schunk, D. (2004). Learning theories: An education perspective (4th Edition ed.). Upper Saddle Rive, NJ: Prentice Hall.