- Project-based learning (PBL) and social-emotional learning (SEL) can be taught in tandem to the benefit of each, former teacher Jennifer Money writes for eSchoolNews.
- Students need 21st century skills like self-direction, flexibility and leadership to succeed in their careers, and these abilities are often developed through social-emotional lessons that can be reinforced through their use in project-based assignments.
- SEL also helps students handle stumbling blocks that are common during group projects, such as the ability to handle emotions like disappointment and frustration as they work through obstacles in search of solutions.
Project-based learning, the application of real-world activities on top of academic lessons, is a method designed to better embed real-world experiences in curriculum and engage students. By simulating the way professionals work, PBL allows students to practice expectations employers may have of them in the future. SEL skills are crucial to the success of PBL assignments — not in finding solutions, but in mastering how to handle working with others and to apply perseverance to work.
Curriculum designers can weave both SEL and PBL needs into the same academic environment. SEL skills are necessary for PBL success, and PBL puts SEL into practice. Educators can deepen how the assessment of PBL by including aspects of SEL like self-management, responsible decision-making, working with others, and showing empathy to fellow students if they need help or assistance in completing assignments.
SEL competency, while a non-academic skill, is considered a 21st century necessity, and is increasingly in demand by employers. Though measuring SEL skills is not always easy, experts say it’s important to mark progress. The Center for Standards & Assessment Implementation offers a roundup of SEL resources for administrators and educators looking for tools on how to measure these skills and assess them when reviewing students' classroom work.