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Social Emotional Learning

Explore these SEL resources for your personal and professional development

Nov 23, 2021

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is a lifelong process of developing skills​​​​​​​ that contribute to academic and career success, and overall individual and collective wellbeing. The five domains of SEL are: Self Awareness, Self Management, Interpersonal Communication, Executive Function, and Social Awareness. These can be applied in our lives across our work, home, communities and schools.

Social Emotional Learning at WGU

By Hilary Simon, Senior Manager, Social and Emotional Learning, WGU

The Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Team at WGU has partnered with University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center to implement an evidence-based Resilience and Well-being Skills Program at WGU and develop these skills within our entire learning community. 

The first round of training launched in March 2020 with a cohort of 750 people, and ongoing training continues to happen. Despite all the challenges we faced nationally during this unprecedented time, our outcomes demonstrated increases in overall wellbeing and optimism levels and decreases in perceived stress levels. Participants also reported an 85 percent increase in self-awareness, 68 percent increase in adaptability, 75 percent increase in sense of connection to colleagues and a 61 percent increase in engagement with work. Six months later, follow-up scores demonstrate that participants have maintained resiliency. Not only did they learn strategies that have helped them to manage challenge and stress, but they have also experienced lasting benefits from utilizing these strategies and mindsets.


Ready to Move Forward on Your Own Journey to Resilience?

Ready to move forward on your own journey to resilience?
 Start by recognizing the thoughts that block your way. Use this simple self-awareness strategy to take control of unhelpful thoughts and reframe your mindset: 

1. Catch It:  Write down all the thoughts you have in response to a challenge you are facing. 

2. Challenge It:  Examine what you wrote. Ask yourself if the thoughts are true. Are they always true? How likely are they to be true? How helpful are they?

3. Change It: Once you’ve challenged the thoughts you can reframe them to be more constructive.  Here are some examples: 

  • Unhelpful Thought: “this will never happen” Reframe: “The first thing I can do is...” 
  • Unhelpful Thought: “I can’t …" Reframe: “I need...” 
  • Unhelpful Thought: “They won’t...” Reframe: “I can...” 
  • Unhelpful Thought: “I know...” Reframe: “I wonder...” 
  • Unhelpful Thought: ”This is impossible...” Reframe: “What am I missing?” 
  • For most of us, shifting mindsets doesn’t happen immediately. We develop our habits of thinking over time, and so it takes time to create new habits. The good news is like any other positive habit, we can strengthen it with the right intention and practice. Make a plan to use the Catch It; Challenge It; Change It strategy daily for a week. See what shifts you notice in your ability to navigate difficult situations with more resilience. 

Explore These SEL Resources

With help from Hilary Simon and team we are offering free, open, accessible resources on key topics to help you in your work with Social Emotional Learning, whether personal or professional, in your life or your school. This is just the beginning of the resources we will be sharing here in the Learning Community. You'll find many more valuable links throughout the year.

Improving Social Emotional Skills in Childhood Enhances Long-Term Well-Being and Economic Outcomes

This issue brief, created by The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)  with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, addresses the need for research, practice, and policy on social and emotional learning (SEL).


Mindset Resources

Researchers Uncover a New Mindset that Predicts Success

Read this article from to learn how a strategic mindset can be an important factor in success.

Developing a Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck

Dig in to Dweck’s work on creating a growth mindset. In this video she talks about the power of “Yet” in a school that gives students who have not passed an assessment a score of “not yet” instead of failing.

5 Videos to Explore a Growth Mindset

Check out this list curated by Amy Erin Borovoy for Edutopia, including Carol Dweck’s The Power of Believing that You Can Improve.

Growth Mindset: Clearing Up Some Common Confusions

Unclear about growth mindsets? This article from MindShift by Eduardo Briceño works to clear up some common confusion around the topic of growth mindset.

Recognizing and Overcoming a False Growth Mindset

Here’s Carol Dweck again, this time in Edutopia talking about recognizing and overcoming false growth mindsets, including behaviors such as praising effort over progress.

Mindset Kit

Follow this link to a Mindset Kit for mentors and take a deep dive into 17 lessons that will leave you with a better understanding of what a growth mindset is and how to adopt one.

Emotions and Self-Efficacy

The Mood Meter

The Mood Meter offers a tool for developing greater self-awareness as well as awareness of others, from Maria Kubitz for

How to Defeat Negative Thinking

Check out this animated 2-minute video from Positive Psychology coach Derrick Carpenter. He shares two key tactics that defeat those negative thoughts.

Recognize your Emotions in 6 Steps

This article opens with the statement, “In order to effectively manage our emotions we must first learn how to accurately recognize them.” See what Dr. Laura K. Schenck has to say about how to recognize your emotions.

What is Self-Efficacy? Bandura’s 4 Sources of Self-Efficacy Beliefs

Miriam Akhtar writes for Positive Psychology about self-efficacy and confidence, citing the work of Albert Bandura.

Self-Efficacy Toolkit

This website from Transforming Education offers a free download for educators to help build and support their students’ self-efficacy.

Building Self-Efficacy

In this article, the American Psychological Association offers teaching strategies to help students build self-efficacy for various health behaviors.


Who doesn’t like a good self-assessment? Here are three assessments you can use to grow your self-awareness and practice self-reflection, or you may choose to use these with your staff or students.

Build on the assessments by linking to the websites that follow below. Each offers practical advice and practices to bolster self-reflection.

Five Tips on Self-Reflection for Personal Growth

Writing for Healthy Place, Silke Morin discussing the power of deliberately thinking about your own behavior and beliefs.

How a Daily Self-Reflection Practice Improves Leadership Performance

In this Forbes article, author Naz Beheshti of Pause, Breathe, Choose, offers advice for building a daily self-reflection practice.

Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even if You Hate Doing it)

Jennifer Porter urges leaders to make the time for self-reflection and suggests they start by identifying key questions.


Resilience in the Workplace

The American Heart Association offers up the CEO Roundtable paper, Resilience in the Workplace: an Evidence Review and Implications for Practice. Read on to understand why all employers should care about resilience.

How To Measure Resilience

Writing for Positive Psychology, Courtney E. Ackerman, MA cites the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as defining individual resilience as “the ability to withstand, adapt to, and recover from adversity and stress. Ackerman discusses the components of resilience including optimism, altruism, moral compass, and more, and then offers eight resilience scales that readers can use to gauge resilience.

Working with Resilience

Here’s a series of short videos from Kathryn McEwen and her work with Resilience TV, including a video that covers the seven different dimensions that enable people to build and sustain resilience.

Resilient Grieving: Podcast with Dr. Lucy Hone

In this episode of Bounce! Conversations with Larry Weeks, the host speaks with Dr. Lucy Hone on living with loss. In this poignant conversation about the worst times a human can experience, the two talk about how to “pick up the pieces and put what’s left of your life back together.” As the podcast points out, this is an important listen for anyone who is grieving, but it is also a valuable tool for those who have not, so that they can better support those who are grieving.



Take a moment and watch this animated short video, then share it with your circle, coworkers or students. In this video with more than 17 million views, Brené Brown talks about the important differences between sympathy and empathy. 

How to Develop Skills in Empathy

This webpage includes a self-assessment and other resources for developing your empathy.  

Empathy in the Workplace: A Tool for Effective Leadership

By William A. Gentry, Todd J. Weber, and Golnaz Sadri. The best leaders are honing their social emotional skills including the ever-important ability to empathize. Knowing how can be the difference in whether your team thrives or not.


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