While still not as esteemed as academic learning, social and emotional learning’s (SEL) value and importance is gaining ground. The connection between academic success and SEL is undeniable. The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development Task Force and the Learning First Alliance claim that once students’ social, emotional, and physical needs have been addressed, then academic learning can take place.
SEL competencies, antithetical to dominant stories of masculinity, readily fall within the realm of counter stories of masculinity. The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) identifies the following five SEL core competencies:
- Self Awareness: Recognizing feelings as they occur; having a realistic assessment of one’s own abilities and a well-grounded sense of self-confidence.
- Social Awareness: Sensing what others are feeling; being able to take their perspective; appreciating and interacting positively with diverse groups.
- Self-Management: Handling emotions so they facilitate rather than interfere with the task at hand; delaying gratification to pursue goals; persevering in the face of setbacks.
- Relationship Skills: Handling emotions in relationships effectively; establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation; negotiating solutions to conflict; seeking help when needed.
- Responsible Decision Making: Accurately assessing risks; making decisions based on a consideration of all relevant factors and the likely consequences of alternative courses of action; respecting others; taking personal responsibility for one’s decisions.
MCSR supports men in applying these competencies to their everyday, school, and work lives as part of choosing healthy masculinity and living the counter story.