November 10, 2021

Accelerate Social-Emotional Learning Through CASEL’s Core Competencies

As SEL continues to be top of mind in the classroom, it’s more helpful than ever to have a guiding framework that helps educators integrate SEL seamlessly into their curriculum. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, more commonly known as “CASEL”, provides a widely accepted interactive framework consisting of 5 core competencies; self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness. Within these competencies, educators have the ability to empower social-emotional health and fuel students’ happiness, health, and future success. Read on to learn more about each individual competency and how you can easily integrate it into your daily classroom life to accelerate social-emotional learning.

Casel Competencies of SEL


Self-awareness means understanding your emotions, thoughts, and values and how they work to shape your behavior.

This is important in:

  • Examining prejudices and biases
  • Identifying and expressing feelings in a constructive manner
  • Recognizing strengths and areas of opportunity with confidence

How to implement:

  • Teaching feeling vocabulary to help students better express themselves
  • Encourage students to express what they feel on a daily basis


Self-management is the ability to manage and acknowledge emotions, thoughts, and behaviors across different contexts.

This is important in:

  • Practicing mindfulness when things seem to be out of control
  • Demonstrating self-discipline and self-motivation
  • Showing the courage to take initiative

How to implement:

  • Encourage students to use mindfulness minutes to help them take a moment to think before reacting
  • Practice circle breathing with students in which you breathe deeply and slowly from your abdomen through your nostrils to help calm you down

Responsible decision-making

Responsible decision-making is the ability to make caring and constructive choices about one’s own behavior and interactions across different situations.

This is important in:

  • Gathering information to make a sound, reasoned decision¬†
  • Understanding the consequences of ones’ actions on themselves and on others
  • Recognizing the importance of critical thinking skills in the promotion of personal and community well-being

How to implement:

  • Assign role-playing exercises to enforce responsible decision making in specific situations
  • Create peer mediation programs where students talk through situations and give feedback or advice to each other

Relationship skills

Relationship skills involve maintaining and establishing healthy, supportive relationships while navigating various settings with diverse groups.

This is important in:

  • Forming positive, constructive relationships
  • Demonstrating cultural competency
  • Displaying active listening, cooperation, and collaboration with others

How to implement:

  • Set up buddy programs to help build connections between different grades or divisions

Social awareness

Social awareness is about offering empathy and understanding for the perspectives of others, including those with diverse backgrounds.

This is important in:

  • Taking other’s perspectives into consideration
  • Understanding and expressing gratitude
  • Practicing empathy

How to implement:

  • Assign interview assignments that encourage students to interview people of different backgrounds, grade levels, interests, etc.
  • Show students films or read books with students that provide examples of people from different cultures or socio-economic backgrounds and encourage discussion

Incorporating these competencies within your own classroom can be intimidating. Thankfully, we have just the thing for you! Check out our white paper on guiding students to make high-character decisions through CASEL competencies, addressing SEL across divisions, and so much more.

About The Social Institute

The Social Institute partners with schools nationwide to empower students, families, and educators to positively navigate social-emotional health, social media, and technology. Schools access our student-respected, turnkey curriculum through, an interactive, gamified learning platform. With solutions for students, parents, and educators, we offer a systemic and comprehensive SEL program through a unique and positive approach. We are proud to serve public and independent partners such as Ravenscroft School, Woodward Academy, Oldfields School, All Saints Episcopal School, Lake Forest School District, Boston Public Schools, and more. For more information on how to empower your students to make high-character decisions online and off, please contact us.