Social and Emotional Learning: Best Practices and Promising Programs

boy talking with other students at a table

Social and emotional learning refers to process of cultivating skills that include successful communication, conflict resolution, management of emotional responses, goal-setting, showing empathy towards others, and responsible decision making (American Institutes for Research and CASEL). Learn more about what effective social and emotional learning looks like in diverse classrooms and with ELLs from the resources below!

For more ideas on using Social and Emotional Learning with ELLs, see this TESOL blog post from Judie Haynes.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action.

Featured Articles

Research and Reports

Recommended Resources

What is Social and Emotional Learning?

Learn more from the following multimedia resources, which include video, reports, and ideas from the classroom to the district level.

What role does culture play?


Dena Simmons

Dena Simmons, Ed.D., is the director of education at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. In these articles and a related TED Talk based on her own experiences, she shares some considerations for implementing Social and Emotional Learning initiatives with diverse student groups.

Teaching Empathy

Featured Programs and Projects

Academia Cuauhtli (Austin, TX)

Academia Cuauhtli (a Nahuatl word that means "eagle") is a grassroots program that the National Education Association describes as "part ethnic studies, part language revitalization, and part professional development."  One of the program's founders, Dr. Angela Valenzuela of the University of Texas at Austin, writes, "Conceptualized as a cultural arts and literacy project that seeks to revitalize young children's heritage language and culture, Academia Cuauhtli offers a highly collaborative, research-based, co-constructed Mexican American Studies curriculum in the areas of migration history, civil rights, cultural arts, Indigenous heritage, and local history — including the Tejano Monument located on capitol grounds, Mexi-Carte, La Peña, Alma de Mujer at Lake Travis, and the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas."  The project has made its materials available to Austin schools as well. To learn more about Academia Cuauhtli, see the following:

Social and Emotional Learning in the News