Arts Education and Social and Emotional Learning Framework:
A Synergistic Pairing

Arts Education and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Framework is designed to illuminate the intersection between arts education and social-emotional learning to allow for the intentional application of appropriate teaching and learning strategies, with the overarching goal of enhancing Arts Education.

Arts Educators often address different aspects of the SEL in their everyday practice either through individual or across multiple competencies (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making). In some cases, these competencies are being addressed in a tacit way, without making explicit connections to the visual and performing arts standards.

This framework is the result of careful consideration of the synergistic connections between the five SEL competencies and the eleven anchor standards in the visual and performing arts. The essential questions and enduring understandings that resulted from a detailed crosswalk provide a clear understanding of these connections. The Framework, including lesson examples, provides Arts Educators a greater understanding of how SEL connects to and influences the artistic process. The Arts Education and Social and Emotional Learning Framework is designed to empower Arts Educators to intentionally embed social-emotional learning.


About the Framework Process:

Inspired by a meeting of the SEL4NJ leadership in January 2019, Arts Ed NJ began wrestling with the question, “How do arts educators intentionally connect SEL to their work in the arts classrooms?” Since New Jersey was in the process of revising the state’s visual and performing arts standards (based on the National Core Arts Standards and the Artistic Processes of Creating, Performing, Responding and Connecting) and, since the New Jersey State Department of Education had already adopted competencies for SEL (including the five CASEL competencies of Self- Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills and Responsible Decision Making as well as 19 sub-competencies divided between them) in 2017, the SEL and Arts Education Taskforce’s approach would be to crosswalk the two documents to develop a blended way to consider both the SEL competencies and the New Jersey’s Student Learning Standards in the Visual and Performing Arts to coincide with the curricular revision and adoption created by the release of the new standards. The result of this work was New Jersey’s Arts Education and Social and Emotional Learning Framework

The Arts Education and Social and Emotional Learning Framework was designed by the SEL and Arts Education Taskforce (led by Bob Morrison for Arts Ed NJ and Dr. Maurice Elias for SEL4NJ) comprised of experts in the areas of SEL and Arts Education with members drawn from SEL4NJ and Arts Ed NJ. Over an 18 month period, this Taskforce explored all of the intersections between SEL and Arts Education through the lens of the arts education standards. This approach maintained the focus on the primary goal of teaching the arts while making a clear connection to SEL to inform the instructional approach. This allowed the team to illuminate the inherent nature of SEL within arts education and how this can be activated in students intentionally.

This crosswalk or “matrix” approach to revealing the intersections between arts education and SEL served two primary goals:

  • Empowering arts educators with the information they need to revise curricula and instruction to embed the activation of the SEL components into practice.
  • Providing arts educators, administrators, and other decision-makers with the information needed to elevate the understanding of how arts education is a valuable tool to support the implementation of SEL strategies in a school or district.

A draft of the framework was presented for feedback by additional members of the SEL and arts education communities across the nation. Feedback provide through this process led to revisions to the framework. The Taskforce completed a final review and provided an advance copy to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) which provided some final feedback that was incorporated into the final product represented on this website.

As New Jersey moves towards the implementation of the newly adopted Student Learning Standards in the Visual and Performing Arts Standards, the Arts Education and Social and Emotional Learning Framework becomes a critical resource.  Districts across New Jersey are required by law to revise their own curricula to come into alignment with these new arts education standards by September of 2022. By embracing this approach, schools and districts will accelerate the incorporation of SEL into the curriculum during the revision process in a way that will underscore the inherent nature of SEL within the arts.

Over the next few months lesson, examples will be published to the website to further assist arts educators and administrators as they plan for implementation.

Questions or comments about the Arts Education and Social and Emotional Learning Framework may be submitted by clicking here.

illuminating the intersection between arts education and social emotional learning