Research Summary

Social and Emotional Learning Programs for Adolescents


Social and Emotional Learning Programs for Adolescents

4 years ago 4 years ago Published by
This research summary was developed by Pathways to Education.


Adolescents face many challenges as they transition into young adults. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs and supports may be of value to them as they navigate the changes and transitions in their lives. This article explores whether SEL programs work for adolescents, and if so, how effective they are and under what conditions.

There are three models of SEL programs. The skills model is based on instruction in specific skill development. The climate model offers a supportive, positive emotional climate. The mindsets model focuses on helping young people develop belief systems or mindsets that, in turn, cause them to either use or not use their skills.

The author reviews a variety of programs and finds that although SEL programs can improve teen lives, typical skills-based SEL programs are generally ineffective for middle adolescents (ages 14 to 17). The effective programs for this age group focus on mindsets and climate.

Pathways to Education. (2018). Social and Emotional Learning Programs for Adolescents. Toronto, ON: Author.

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