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Curriculum and Instruction

Social and Emotional Learning in English Language Arts and Literacy

Attending to the development of students' social and emotional skills can help students, schools, and districts meet the expectations for teaching and learning that are described in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.

The content standards and the recently adopted 2017 MA Curriculum Framework for ELA/Literacy describe a vision of what it means to be a literate person in this century. The skills and understandings students are expected to demonstrate build a strong foundation for application outside the classroom and the workplace. Students will perform the critical reading necessary to navigate the extensive range of information available today both print and digitally. They actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts that builds knowledge, increases experiences, and broadens worldviews. Students who meet the standards develop the skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that are the foundation for creative and purposeful expression in language and communication. Effective and respectful communication is key to collaboration and compromise. The 2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for ELA/Literacy includes the following Guiding Principle to support Social and Emotional Learning:

Guiding Principle 10

Social and emotional learning can increase academic achievement, improve attitudes and behaviors, and reduce emotional distress. Students should practice recognizing aspects of themselves in texts (self awareness), struggling productively with challenging texts (self management), tailoring language to audience and purpose (social awareness), grappling vicariously with choices faced by others (responsible decision making), and collaboratively respectfully with diverse peers (relationship skills).

Social and Emotional Learning Competencies1 as they relate to ELA/Literacy

Students Who Are Ready for College, Careers, and Civic ParticipationSocial and Emotional Competencies1
  1. They demonstrate independence.
  2. They build strong content knowledge.
  3. They respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline.
  4. They comprehend as well as critique.
  5. They value evidence.
  6. They use technology and digital media strategically and capably.
  7. They come to understand other perspectives and cultures.
Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one's emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one's strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.
Self-management: The ability to regulate one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.
Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.
Responsible decision making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the wellbeing of self and others.

SEL Resources:



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Last Updated: October 6, 2017
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