Social and emotional learning focuses on five key competencies. These are framed slightly differently by different organizations, so I have created a table that incorporates the (verbatim) descriptions found on several different sites.

Dalai Lama Center: Heart-Mind Index CASEL: Social and emotional learning core competencies Edutopia: Social and emotional learning research review 
Relationship skills  GETS ALONG WITH OTHERS – the ability to form positive and healthy relationships with peers and adults. The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.
  • How can I adjust my actions so that my interactions with different people turn out well?
  • How can I communicate my expectations to other people?
  • How can I communicate with other people to understand and manage their expectations of me?


Social awareness  COMPASSIONATE AND KIND – the ability to be aware of other people’s emotions and a desire to help when a person is in need.  The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
  • How can I better understand other people’s thoughts and feelings?
  • How can I better understand why people feel and think the way they do?
Responsible decision-making SOLVES PROBLEMS PEACEFULLY – the ability to behave in a peaceful and respectful way in a variety of situations and relationships.  The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.
  • What consequences will my actions have on myself and others?
  • How do my choices align with my values?
  • How can I solve problems creatively?
Self-management   ALERT AND ENGAGED – the ability to stay calm, focused and alert; to demonstrate self-control and to slow down and think before acting.  The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.
  • What different responses can I have to an event?
  • How can I respond to an event as constructively as possible?
Self-awareness   SECURE AND CALM – the ability to take part in daily activities and approach new situations without being overwhelmed with worries, sadness or anxiety.  The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.
  • What are my thoughts and feelings?
  • What causes those thoughts and feelings?
  • How can I express my thoughts and feelings respectfully?