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Although Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is seen to benefit children and youth, evidence is largely built on summative trials of programmes, with little comparative insight into the specific approaches that underpin SEL. The current study sought to highlight a hitherto underutilised approach in identifying common SEL practices through the identification of ‘core components’. Both instructional (‘how’ SEL is taught) and practice-based (‘what’ SEL is taught) elements were examined across 13 elementary level evidence-based programmes through a method of distillation of skills and practices. Findings showed a discrepancy between theorised SEL and identified components, consistent with emergent literature. Further, the study is the first to cross-examine practice and instruction elements, linking prevalent pedagogical approaches to specific SEL skills. The implications for core components as an approach are discussed in respect to a refinement of theory, considerations for teaching practices, and recommendations for the design of future research in SEL evaluation.

Keywords: social and emotional learning; SEL; core components; universal intervention
Original languageEnglish
JournalSchool Psychology Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Nov 2021


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