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Mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning (SEL): A Conceptual Framework

  • Molly Stewart LawlorEmail author
Part of the Mindfulness in Behavioral Health book series (MIBH)

Abstract

A fundamental mission of schooling is to educate the “whole child” which includes promoting both cognitive and noncognitive skills. Research has revealed schools to be one of the primary settings promote social-emotional learning (SEL). SEL encompasses the processes through which individuals attain and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to identify and manage their emotions; understand another’s perspective and show empathy for others; set and achieve positive goals; develop and sustain positive relationships; and make responsible decisions. In a similar vein, contemplative education seeks to educate the whole child, with a focus on developing mindful awareness, values for moral living, caring for others, learning, and personal growth. Increasingly, school-based primary prevention efforts are incorporating mindfulness-based practices, to foster attention, resiliency, and well-being. Mindfulness is a state of consciousness that involves the direction of attention that incorporates self-awareness with a core characteristic of being open, receptive, and nonjudgmental. Both SEL and mindfulness-based initiatives in education emphasize the development of positive self, moral, social, and emotional understanding. What has been missing in the literature is a clear theoretical, empirical, and practical, articulation of how mindfulness-based practices align with SEL. This article puts forth a conceptual framework that describes how mindfulness practices may deepen SEL within K-12 educational contexts. Future directions for the field of mindfulness and SEL are also discussed.

Keywords

Mindfulness Social emotional learning SEL Contemplative education Child and adolescent development Mindfulness-based interventions 

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© Springer-Verlag New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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