Spring 2013: Social Emotional Learning


"Empathy is not simply a matter of trying to imagine what others are going through, but having the will to muster enough courage to do something about it."

~ Cornel West

Human rights education (HRE) is all learning that develops the knowledge, skills and values of human rights, with the goal of preparing children to become informed, responsible, and caring adults. As indicated in the World Programme for Human Rights Education, "HRE goes beyond cognitive learning and includes the social emotional  development of all those involved in the learning and teaching process." Such development progresses through social emotional learning.

 Social emotional learning (SEL) is the building of intrapersonal (self-awareness) and interpersonal (awareness of others) intelligences necessary for living an effective, engaged life.   

SEL is a critical component of human rights education because it develops the very skills in individuals that cause them to recognize and care about another person's suffering, whether it is a student on the bus being bullied or someone being persecuted halfway around the world for their political opinion. Our social emotional intelligence helps us understand how our actions affect others and gives us the skills to rectify wrongs on an individual and community level. In effect, SEL helps to create a culture in which human rights are respected, practiced, and lived.

This edition of Rights Sites News, which includes lesson plans, articles, case studies, resources and more, is dedicated to exploring how teachers and parents can promote their children's social emotional development so they will grow up to promote and respect the human rights of themselves and others.