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Trends in STEM

Embracing Social-Emotional Learning

As our society becomes increasingly complex, students must be prepared to navigate a world filled with change and uncertainty. Many of today’s children will likely work in jobs that do not yet exist. For educators looking to best prepare their students, incorporating social-emotional learning (SEL) techniques in their teaching methods and strategies can have a profound impact on how children successfully navigate complicated challenges in the future.


What Is Social-Emotional Learning?

According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL “is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

To achieve this, SEL encourages educators to embrace holistic methods of education and view their students as unique individuals with specific needs. In addition to measuring analytic performance and standardized testing, this type of learning invites teachers to instill mindsets that encourage growth and perseverance.

Research from many leading universities has shown the benefits of SEL:

  • A 20-year study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that kindergarteners with higher social competence scores were significantly more likely to graduate from high school and college, and to have a full-time job at age 25.
  • A cost-benefit analysis of six SEL interventions conducted by Columbia University found an average return of $11 for every dollar spent. 
  • Research from the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research showed that academic skills alone do not prepare children to live productive and fulfilling lives. Instead, social-emotional skills including emotion management, self-awareness and responsible decision making represent critical factors to succeeding in school, work and life.


How Do NIHF’s Education Programs Embrace SEL?

NIHF’s education team highly values SEL and designs education programs that cultivate and promote these essential skills. Through lessons and challenges from our groundbreaking NIHF Inductees, participants in these programs confront real-world problems and develop empathetic solutions to improve the lives of others.

The most effective ideas often result from a group effort. Our programs provide frequent opportunities for participants to work in teams. Engaging in collaboration is an essential way to develop SEL skill sets. By working together with others, children build critical skills that will serve them over the course of their lifetime. While learning various technical STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) competencies is important, children must also have their imaginations sparked. Guided by our NIHF Inductees, we seek to show participants how they too can make a difference by developing their own interests and passion for STEM!


Learn More About Our Education Programs

To learn more about our education programs, available for students of all ages, we encourage you to visit our website.

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