As education evolves, so too does the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) and STEM education. While seemingly different areas of focus, STEM and SEL go hand in hand to create a well-rounded learning experience for students. By incorporating STEM learning into your curriculum, you can help students develop essential SEL skills like collaboration, critical thinking, perseverance, empathy, creativity, and a growth mindset.
STEM projects often require teamwork, which provides students an opportunity to build and practice social and emotional skills like communication, collaboration or teamwork, and leadership.
- Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
Both STEM and SEL learning focus on developing and enhancing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. STEM activities require students to think logically and systematically to find solutions to ever-more complex problems, while SEL encourages students to analyze social situations, identify problems, and come up with effective solutions.
STEM projects often involve failure, reflection, and improvement, providing students with an opportunity to learn resilience and to persist in the face of challenges, and to overcome setbacks.
STEM projects that focus on real-world problems, like all of EiE’s learning materials, can help students develop empathy for others and a sense of social responsibility.
STEM and SEL both foster creativity in different ways, with similar outcomes. STEM activities require students to think outside of the box and envision innovative solutions to problems, while SEL encourages students to express themselves creatively.
- Growth Mindset
Both STEM and SEL promote a growth mindset emphasizing that intellect and ability can be developed through hard work and perseverance. This helps students explore trial-and-error, and develop resilience and overcome setbacks and challenges.
Incorporating STEM into your curriculum is an excellent way to promote social-emotional learning in your classroom. By combining these fields of learning, you can help students develop the skills they need to succeed both in school and in life. For more information about how you can support social-emotional learning, check out our blog at blog.eie.org/topic/social-emotional-learning.