Social-Emotional Learning Helps Prevent Bullying

New article shows research link between better social skills and bullying prevention


SEATTLE, Nov. 26, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- More research is showing that social-emotional learning (SEL) can be an effective tool in bullying prevention, according to an article recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Theory into Practice.

The article, titled "The Role of Social-Emotional Learning in Bullying Prevention Efforts," appeared in a special issue of Theory into Practice dedicated to emerging issues in school bullying research and prevention science. It examines how a school's social ecology can affect bullying, highlighting that SEL can reduce bullying by positively shaping the school climate.

Authored by Dr. Brian Smith of the nonprofit Committee for Children and Dr. Sabina Low of Arizona State University, the article's subject matter is timely, given recent interest in SEL and bullying prevention. "We've seen a lot in the popular press about both subjects, but haven't seen much that ties the two together," says Dr. Smith. "And yet most educators seem to know instinctively that when you teach kids the basic tenets of SEL—empathy, emotion management and problem solving—bullying prevention is a natural next step. We wanted to strengthen that link."

The article comes on the heels of the recent release of a new bullying prevention program from Committee for Children called the Second Step Bullying Prevention Unit. The unit, which provides online training for every adult in school, lessons for kids, and family materials, is designed to be taught with the organization's award-winning SEL curriculum, Second Step: Skills for Social and Academic Success, thereby putting into practice the idea that SEL is an important component of bullying prevention.

Dr. Low, who, like Dr. Smith, has focused on prevention science for much of her career, says, "Bullying prevention isn't a quick fix. It usually occurs over time, in stages. This article reminds educators that SEL has an important role in shaping more positive, caring school communities, which are the ultimate antidote to bullying and aggressive behavior."

Seattle-based Committee for Children has a 30-year-plus reputation for creating high-quality, research-based curricula that are easy to teach and effective. Joan Cole Duffell, Committee for Children's Executive Director, says, "It's already well-established that social-emotional learning improves life and learning outcomes for kids. This research is exciting because it points out that a well-designed SEL program also reduces bullying—which is such a top-of-mind issue for children, families and educators today."

About Committee for Children

Seattle-based nonprofit Committee for Children is the world's leading provider of educational programs that teach skills to prevent violence, sexual abuse and bullying to more than 9 million students in 25,000 schools in 70 countries around the globe. To learn more, go to


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