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The Common Core State Standards are a set of educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics. According to the Common Cores State Standards Initiative (2010),  the standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit bearing entry courses in two or four year college programs or enter the workforce. The standards define expectations for what students should know and be able to do in a reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics in schools. It is up to teachers and administrators to decide how these subjects will be taught.

When we take a look at the description of the standards, we quickly realize how they are connected to social and emotional competencies. For example in regards to text complexity:

  • Students will experience longer periods of engagement with text. Therefore, students will need self-control in order to persist with the text, and self-management in order to stay motivated and engaged over time.
  • Students will be asked to frequently work with peers to engage in academic discourse and problem solve around a text. In this case, students will need to use social awareness in order to take others’ points of view, as well as relationship skills to work collaboratively.

In mathematics, one of the practices highlighted in the CCSS is modeling with mathematics. This practice is also related to social and emotional competencies:

  • Students will need to analyze problems in real contexts. This will require that students use social awareness to understand the needs of the individuals and groups involved in the problem.
  • Students will need to engage in reflective and improvement processes. In this case, students will need to use decision-making skills to responsibly solve problems, as well as use self-management skills to persevere in the process and monitor progress towards final completion.

These are just a few examples that illustrate the connections between the practices in the CCSS and their relationship with social and emotional competencies. Currently, we can find school districts like Chicago Public Schools that are fully integrating the CCSS with SEL standards in their overall strategy to prepare students for college and beyond. Check out how they represent the relationship between CCSS and SEL, College and Career Readiness CPS.

The Anchorage School District has also started publishing examples of how the CCSS math practices are related to their SEL learning standards.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. There has to be support at the community level. Parents need to be actively involved in their children’s success that means taking responsibility for modeling socially acceptable behaviors. They can’t continue to support music that teaches children negative responses to difficulties. Video games that kill opponents are teaching that violence is a solution. These games are not releasing tension they are creating it. Parents need to own responsibility for what their children are exposed to.

    July 8, 2014
    • Cindy, thank you for your comment. I agree, parents are key to help kids develop their social and emotional skills. Parents and teachers should work together in this process, as they are behavior models for kids. Children are exposed to a lot of violence through video games and the media; but there are now some alternatives, like the video game IF… ( that tries to build skills such as empathy, decision-making and perseverance. As people become more aware of the benefits of emotional intelligence, we are going to find more and more tools to help us (adults and children) develop these skills.

      July 11, 2014
  2. Landras Lacy #

    As a parent and teacher, I am concerned with the violence children are exposed to at such young ages in video games and television.

    July 14, 2014
    • Thank you for your comment, Landras. I do share your concern and believe it is key to teach children ways to manage emotions and resolve conflicts that don’t involve violence. I also think it is important to discuss with our kids and students why and how violence is happening around the world, sometimes far away but often in our own neighborhoods, and invite them to think about alternatives to solve existing issues. We might not be able to completely protect children from being exposed to violence, but we can definitely give them some tools and strategies, so they have options when it comes to their own behavior.

      July 14, 2014
  3. Lori Stratton #

    I believe that a lot of students are exposed to negative and materialistic reinforces. Video games and movies only serve as one outlet but the way that parents socialize with their child and partners are also key ways students learn to treat and care about others. If they are taught mine, mine, mine then their is no ours. I really feel that society does not have any consequences nor does the school and students and children see that and use it to their advantages. Its really sad.

    July 28, 2014
    • Lori, thank you for your sharing your thoughts. Yes, adults (especially parents) are models of behavior for our children. I think it is important to include and invite parents to this conversation, and also help them learn and develop their own social and emotional skills. These are skills that also adults need to develop; it is a life-long learning process! I’ve worked with schools that include parents in their SEL programming; it allows parents to learn more about their own skills, but also acquire some tools to better help their kids. Your district is leading the way on teaching SEL, maybe the next step is thinking about ways to include the families. It does take everybody’s commitment to develop a great SEL program!

      July 29, 2014
  4. Casandra Dowdy #

    As a grandparent and teacher, I understand that our youth spend a lot of time out of our presence and there are many pressures to conform. I’m concerned that many of our youth are not exposed to behaviors that model self-control and social awareness from the adults who have the greatest potential to influence their mind-sets (their parents/guardians). Is it possible that it’s not intentional on their part but simply a lack of awareness of how much their kids want to be guided by them?

    July 30, 2014
    • Casandra, absolutely! As adults, it is often difficult to show our best self-management or empathy skills with those who are the closest in our lives, our friends and family. Parenthood is not an easy journey or something that we are “taught” how to do, and sometimes we might not realize (as you were describing) the impact of our behavior in our own children. Providing the tools of emotional intelligence for parents would increase that awareness and give families some tools to work with their children and youth. Thank you for your insights.

      July 31, 2014

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