UN SDG Target 4.7 and SEL
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an important contributor to positive behavioural change, a necessary condition to achieve greater social cohesion and respect for peace, cultural diversity and human rights.
We understand SEL as related to “the process of acquiring core competencies to recognize and manage emotions, set and achieve goals, appreciate the perspectives of others, establish and maintain positive relationships, make responsible decisions and handle interpersonal situations constructively.”1
SEL is an important contributor to positive behavioural change, a necessary condition to achieve greater social cohesion and respect for peace, cultural diversity and human rights. Research in OECD countries suggests that SEL is most effective when it is sequenced, active, focused and explicit (SAFE).2
The SDG Target 4.7 themes are rooted in the below (Source: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs)
By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through
education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles,
promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence,
global citizenship and
appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.
SEL-based approaches should underpin the teaching and learning of Target 4.7 themes in ways that promote concrete and lasting learner commitment in these areas. Each education system needs to engage all learners in meaningful ways in order to motivate them to become responsible actors at the personal, community, national, and global levels. Such personal engagement begins in early childhood by building positive SEL experiences, adapting the application of these skills over time as the students mature. SEL effectiveness increases when it is tailored to contextual factors, such as students’ emerging language skills, teachers’ capacities, and realistic options for young people’s engagement in SDG Target 4.7 themes beyond their schools.
A new generation of textbooks is needed to create synergies between current academic, institutional and practitioner interest in SEL and related approaches, such as ‘life skills’ and ‘21st century skills’ in in order to promote local, national and global citizenship and sustainable development is key.
1 Elias, M. J., Zins, J. E., Weissberg, R. P., Frey, K. S., Greenberg, M. T., Haynes, N. M., … & Shriver, T. P. (1997). Promoting social and emotional learning: Guidelines for educators. Ascd, 5.
2 Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405- 432.