Social Emotional Learning and English Language Learners: A Review of the Literature


  • Susan R. Adams Butler University
  • Camille Richie Vision Academy, Indianapolis


Social emotional learning (SEL) is a process of obtaining and effectually applying the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions in life for both children and adults. Early studies examining the impact of teaching SEL in the elementary classroom suggest that integrating SEL into the classroom curriculum and culture can support elementary students to better manage personal and collective behavior, to improve attendance rates, and to raise student achievement rates. This review of literature includes a focus on the existing literature and on the promising implications of incorporating SEL in mainstream classrooms which include English language learners (ELLs). 

Author Biographies

Susan R. Adams, Butler University

Dr. Susan Adams is Assistant Professor of Middle/Secondary Education at Butler University. A former high school ESL and Spanish teacher, Dr. Adams earned her Ph.D. in Literacy, Culture, and Language in Education from Indiana University. Susan’s publications are included in Theory into Practice, English Journal, SAGE Sociology of Education, EBSCO Research Starters, and The New Educator. Her recently published book, Race and Pedagogy: Creating Collaborative Spaces for Teacher Transformations (2016) was co-authored with Jamie Buffington-Adams.
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Camille Richie, Vision Academy, Indianapolis

Camille Richie, M.S. is a graduate of Butler University’s College of Education from where she completed a B.S. in elementary education (2012) and the Master’s in Effective Teaching and Leading (METL) (2017). A licensed elementary, Special Education teacher, and English as New Language (ENL) teacher, Ms. Richie currently teaches in a multiracial, multilingual first grade classroom at Vision Academy in Indianapolis, Indiana where the research for her recently completed master’s thesis on the effects of teaching social emotional learning (SEL) in the first grade classroom was conducted.


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