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Ask the Pastor 112

What is SEL?

The acronym SEL stands for Social and Emotional Learning and it is a part of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning or CASEL. This is defined as follows:

"At the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, we envision all children and adults as self-aware, caring, responsible, engaged, and lifelong learners who work together to achieve their goals and create a more inclusive, just world. How? Through a commitment to SEL."

This concept was put together, ostensibly, by a “multidisciplinary network” of people dedicated to SEL. Formally this began in 1994, but had its beginnings based upon a Yale study conducted in 1968. It is interesting that during the same decade that prayer and the Bible were put out of school, immediately it was recognized that a moral vacuum was created and needed to be filled by a new program. SEL is based upon 5 “interrelated areas of competence” which are: Self-Awareness; Self-Management; Responsible Decision Making; Relationship Skills; Social Awareness (see All of these are subjective in nature and are dependent upon the perspective of the teacher. A biblical Christian will view each of these differently than will a secular humanist. Can anyone be certain that every teacher their child has in school will share their family’s values and perspective? Inasmuch as teachers are typically educated and trained in a state supported institution that is predominately secular humanists, then for every biblical Christian family, the answer will be a resounding no. As is always the case, the education of one’s children is ultimately the responsibility of their parents and therefore, the parents need to be tracking with everything that goes on in the classroom. How our children think about themselves and others in a social construct is best found in the Bible and the Bible holds the parents responsible for its teaching such as, “You shall teach them diligently to your children” (Deuteronomy 6:7) and “And you, fathers do not provoke them to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). To do that one must first be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and be committed to the Word of God.

Have questions about the Bible? Send them to Dr. Greg Koehn at and read the answer here in this article.

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