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Social and emotional aspects of learning (SEAL): The evidence. Natalie O’ Neill Rhondda Cynon Taf & Merthyr Tydfil Educational & Child Psychology Service. SEAL is.

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Social and emotional aspects of learning (SEAL): The evidence

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Social and emotional aspects of learning (SEAL): The evidence

Natalie O’ Neill

Rhondda Cynon Taf & Merthyr Tydfil

Educational & Child Psychology Service

SEAL is...

“a comprehensive, whole-school approach to promoting the social and emotional skills that underpin effective learning, positive behaviour, regular attendance, staff effectiveness and the emotional health and well-being of all who learn and work in schools.”

(DCFS, 2007, p.4)

So... does SEAL work?

Many practitioners...

Does emotional literacy impact on attainment?

Catalano et al. (2004)

Flook et al. (2005)

Rodeiro et al. (2009)

Some social and emotional skills/aspects of emotional literacy are positively correlated with attainment in some areas, whilst others might be neutral or negatively correlated.

Can the skills of emotional literacy be taught?

  • Weare & Nind (2011)

  • Durlak et al (2011)

DO programmes such as SEAL impact on attainment?

SEL programmes generally

  • Durlak et al (2011)

  • Payton et al (2008)

Seal programmes specifically

  • Hallam et al (2006)

  • Banerjee (2010)

5000+ questionnaires = 100% head teachers: SEAL had a positive impact on children’s wellbeing and attitudes to school

SEAL = successful in developing children’s social skills and relationships

SEAL = improved attainment compared to schools not completing the programme

Decide for yourself...does emotional literacy contribute to attainment?

A quick activity..

  • Partner A: Ask partner B to spell a difficult word

  • Partner B: Ask partner A to answer a mental arithmetic problem (without writing it down)

The social and emotional demands of learning activities

Work with your partner again...

  • What feelings did you experience when tackling this task? How did you manage them?

  • What social skills did you use in the discussion?

Why else, other than improving attainment, is emotional literacy needed?

Employers’ needs...

“Employers are looking for more than just technical skills and knowledge of a degree discipline. They particularly value skills such as communication, team working and problem solving. Job applicants who can demonstrate that they have developed these skills will have a real advantage.”

Digby Jones, Ex-Director-General, Confederation of British Industry

A changing society...

Does seal contribute to aspects other than attainment?

Small group SEAL

Skills and experience of the facilitator

  • Humphrey et al. (2008)

Commitment of school to SEAL

Availability of physical space to conduct sessions

Playground behaviours

  • Hallam (2009)

Secondary seal

  • Humphrey et al. (2010)

Whole school approach

Engagement with parents/carers

Time and resource allocation

Staff with ‘will and skill’


Equipping pupils with the social and emotional skills they need to lead successful, happy and productive lives

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