Research Briefs

Research Briefs


This brief highlights literature on the role schools play in supporting child and youth mental health, how SEL is important for mental health prevention and academic readiness, and how SEL competencies are aligned with trends in international curriculum criteria. Early themes from the SEAK research show that there is a broad recognition in Education and Health of the need for SEL in schools, yet barriers still exist around curriculum integration, sustainable commitment and investment, and interdepartmental collaboration. For more, visit SEAK OVERVIEW & EARLY BARRIERS TO SCALE-UP.


The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has proposed assessment criteria for the measurement of global competence in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This includes assessing empathy and attitudes around openness, respect, global-mindedness, and responsibility of students.

In Canada, People for Education, a charitable organization focused on public education, is working with partners on the project Measuring What Matters. SEL is an important aspect of reconsidering education goals and measures and the project has released background documents and a list of core competencies and skills. For more, visit the research brief SEL & GLOBAL COMPETENCE.


Literature has shown that SEL has direct benefits for academic achievement, readiness, engagement, motivation, and adjustment of students. SEL impacts the school climate and enhances relationships school-wide, with a whole-school approach to SEL positively impacting student wellness. For more, visit the research brief SEL ACADEMIC BENEFITS & SCHOOL CLIMATE.


Through the development of effective school-based programs, ongoing evidence of the long term benefits of social emotional learning (SEL), and general support from governments, the SEL movement has gained considerable momentum; however, policy level action must be taken to achieve sustainability moving forward. Policies for successful scale-up of interventions must develop institutional capacity, secure financial and human resources, and align goals with the larger political priorities. For more literature on scaling-up programs in Education systems read the research brief SEL: SCALING-UP IN EDUCATION.


Implementing SEL programs within schools requires quality teacher training, ongoing professional support, a supportive school administration and environment, curricula integration of SEL, and sufficient resources and funding. SEL is further reinforced and sustained when families and communities are involved in the training process. Government-wide support is required for implementation and integration yet must remain adaptive to the diversity and equity needs of each community. For research and literature on SEL capacity and culture visit the research brief SEL: BUILDING CAPACITY & CULTURE.

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