Education Week – Published in Print: March 18, 2015, as The Heart Payoff
A groundbreaking study from Columbia University, “The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning,” reveals what we call “the heart payoff.”
For many years, growing numbers of scholars and educators have been exploring the ways in which emotions and relationships contribute to learning. Under the broad umbrella of “social and emotional learning,” hundreds of researchers, teachers, administrators, and policymakers around the country have been trying to promote the social and emotional development of children and adults. At the same time, these pioneers are working to improve the culture of schools, the expectations of adults, the ways in which discipline is meted out, the mind-sets of learners, and the opportunities for young people’s expression, service, and aspiration.
Most people, when introduced to these kinds of social and emotional strategies, assume that they’re “nice”—maybe even “important.” But few think that developing healthy emotions and social connectivity is really a good return on investment.
But that’s the news from the Columbia study’s authors, Henry M. Levin and Clive Belfield. Over the last year, they examined the economic returns from investments in six prominent social and emotional interventions including LifeSkills Training.
Their findings are striking… significant benefits that exceeded costs…
The lead researcher told us, “These are unprecedented returns, particularly given that, while the estimates of the costs are clear, only a portion of the possible benefits are captured.” Benefits include reductions in child aggression, substance abuse, delinquency, and violence; lower levels of depression and anxiety; and increased grades, attendance, and performance in core academic subjects.