Social, emotional skills boost success at school

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Success at school comes with a combination of social, emotional and academic confidence. A new analysis of school-based social and emotional learning programmes has found that these do improve students' attitudes and behaviors, even boost academic performance. In the first large-scale analysis, researchers from Universities of Loyola and Illinois in the US reviewed 213 school-based, social and emotional learning programmes involving more than 270,000 students, the journal Child Development reports. These programmes aim to promote students' abilities in one or more areas, including recognizing and managing emotions, setting and achieving positive goals, making responsible decisions, according to a Loyola University statement. The researchers found that, compared to students in the studies' control groups, students in the programmes that were considered showed significantly improved social and emotional skills, caring attitudes, and positive social behaviors. Besides, students' disruptive behavior and emotional distress declined. In the small group of studies that examined academics, researchers found that students performed better on achievement tests. “The findings highlight the value of incorporating well-designed and carefully conducted social and emotional learning programmes into standard educational practice,” said Joseph A. Durlak, emeritus professor of psychology at Loyola University Chicago, the study's lead author.

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