SEPT 24 | WEBINAR RECAP: Ways of Being – Social & Emotional Learning in Youth Programs

At the heart of social and emotional learning there is always a learner—a young person who is figuring out how to live life in a complex world.

– Ways of Being: A Model for Social & Emotional Learning

On September 24th, we hosted a webinar on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) featuring Kate Walker, Associate Professor and Specialist in Youth Work Practice at the University of Minnesota Extension Centre for Youth Development.

Being prepared for postsecondary education and employment requires a much broader skill set than academic knowledge. These skills – including self-worth, critical thinking and empathy – are developed over a lifelong process of learning and reinforcement at home, school, and after school programs. There is now a growing body of evidence that demonstrates the strong links that exist between the development of these “soft” skills and positive outcomes for young people. This kind of learning has been termed social and emotional learning (SEL). Youth programs can play a significant role in developing SEL as they give young people a chance to engage in real-world projects, work in teams, take on meaningful roles, face challenges, and experience the accompanying emotional ups and downs.

This webinar explored SEL and what it means for after school programs and adults supporting youth. Participants learned about a newly developed Ways of Being model that conceptualizes SEL and integrates available evidence, as well as practical strategies to promote SEL in their work.


1. Webinar Slides
This is the slide deck that presenter Kate Walker uses in this webinar.

2. Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework
This report identifies key factors to life success and qualities youth need to grow and learn, as well as ways adults can help foster development.

3. Workforce Connections: Key “Soft Skills” that Foster Workforce Success: Toward a Consensus Across Fields
This white paper recommends a research-based set of key soft skills that increase the chance that youth ages 15-29 will be successful in the workforce.

4. Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferrable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century
In this report, “21st century skills” are identified and how they can increase deeper learning, college and career readiness, student-centred learning, and higher order thinking is explained.

5. After School Programs that Follow Evidence-Based Practices to Promote Social and Emotional Development are Effective
This brief  summarizes findings that indicate after school programs that follow four evidence-based practices are successful in promoting young people’s personal and social development.

6. University of Minnesota: Social and Emotional Learning Hub
This is a central hub for presentation recordings, reports and articles, blog posts, issue briefs and other resources related to social and emotional learning.

7. Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
The nation’s leading organization for advancing the development of academic, social and emotional competence for all students.

8. MHA Labs
Focused on improving 21st century skills development. Their free toolkit includes more than 45 skill building worksheets, checklists and training supports.

9. Edutopia
Illuminating and showcasing what works in education. Shows people how they can adopt best practices and tells stories of innovation and continuous learning in the real world.

10. Models and Infographics
Ways of Being Model: The model describes dynamic, interactive ways of being that exist in three layers – identity, awareness, and navigation and three dimensions – ways of feeling, ways of relating to others, and ways of doing.

CASEL’s SEL Core Competencies: CASEL has identified five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective and behavioural competencies.

Foundations for Young Adult Success: The development of the four foundational components, along with agency, integrated identity, and competencies, occurs at different stages throughout childhood and adolescence

Kate Walker
Associate Professor and Specialist in Youth Work Practice
University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development

Kate studies the role that adult program leaders play in supporting youth development in programs. She also leads professional development programs aimed at supporting and improving youth work practice.

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