Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is an approach to education that focuses on developing social and emotional competencies in students to help them succeed in school and beyond.1 On the other hand, science education aims to teach scientific concepts and principles to students. However, both these educational approaches are not mutually exclusive. SEL can be integrated into science education, including chemistry education, to improve students’ learning outcomes.
Social and emotional competencies such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making are essential for success in any discipline, including chemistry. For example, in chemistry education, self-awareness helps students to recognize their learning strengths and weaknesses, which in turn allows them to tailor their learning strategies accordingly. Social awareness, on the other hand, can help students to appreciate the perspectives of others and to collaborate effectively with their peers during laboratory experiments or group projects. Responsible decision-making skills can assist students in making informed and ethical decisions, such as handling chemicals safely and appropriately.
Integrating SEL into Chemistry Education
There are several ways to integrate SEL into chemistry education. One approach is to incorporate SEL-based teaching strategies such as cooperative learning, problem-based learning, and project-based learning. These approaches encourage students to work collaboratively, think critically, and communicate effectively, thereby promoting social and emotional competencies.2
Another way to integrate SEL into chemistry education is by designing laboratory experiments that promote SEL skills. For example, experiments that require students to work in pairs or small groups to solve problems can help develop social awareness and relationship skills. Additionally, experiments that require students to reflect on their learning can promote self-awareness and responsible decision-making skills.
Benefits of Integrating SEL into Chemistry Education
Integrating SEL into chemistry education has several benefits. Firstly, it can improve students’ academic performance and engagement by promoting a positive learning environment and reducing behavioral problems.3 Secondly, it can prepare students for success in the workforce by developing essential social and emotional competencies such as collaboration, communication, and problem-solving skills.4 Lastly, it can help to create a more inclusive and equitable learning environment that supports the diverse needs of all students.5
Integrating SEL into science education, specifically chemistry education, can enhance students’ learning outcomes by promoting essential social and emotional competencies. By using SEL-based teaching strategies and designing laboratory experiments that promote SEL skills, chemistry teachers can create a positive and inclusive learning environment that prepares students for success in school and beyond.
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Lazarowitz, R., & Tamir, P. (1994). Research on using laboratory instruction in science. In International handbook of science education (pp. 289-302). Springer, Dordrecht. ↩
Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2017). Social and emotional learning and teachers. The Future of Children, 27(1), 137-155. ↩
Durlak, J. A., Domitrovich, C. E., Weissberg, R. P., & Gullotta, T. P. (Eds.). (2015). Handbook of social and emotional learning: Research and practice. Guilford Publications. ↩
Cohen, J., McCabe, L., Michelli, N. M., & Pickeral, T. (2009). School climate: Research, policy, practice, and teacher education. Teachers College Record, 111(1), 180-213. ↩