Evidence That It Works
Research shows that SEL interventions that teach skills such as empathy, conflict resolution, and listening have a positive impact on youth development, resulting in better social-emotional skills, attitudes, and indicators of well-being.
Active learning techniques, in which students actively discuss and reflect on ideas rather than passively absorbing them, boost students’ engagement and learning. Debate-type activities, in particular, in which students must consider other points of view and clarify their own, have been shown to improve students’ critical thinking, perspective-taking, and communication skills.
Why Does It Matter?
Students who are more engaged at school overall tend to do better in academics and in life. More specifically, activities like Yes-No-Maybe Current Event Discussion promote the kind of critical thinking and communication skills that students will be able to apply across contexts, and that will thus serve them well in their future educational and career trajectories.
What’s more, the ability and willingness to listen to, understand, and respond respectfully to different perspectives is critical in today’s globalized world. To make truly ethical and responsible decisions, students must be able to engage in dialogue with others while developing their own ideas.