Skills for Social Progress

The Power of Social and Emotional Skills

Today’s children will need a balanced set of cognitive, social and emotional skills in order to succeed in modern life. Their capacity to achieve goals, work effectively with others and manage emotions will be essential to meet the challenges of the 21st century. While everyone acknowledges the importance of socio-emotional skills such as perseverance, sociability and self-esteem, there is often insufficient awareness of “what works” to enhance these skills. Teachers and parents don’t really know whether their efforts at developing these skills are paying off, and what they could do better. Policies and programmes designed to measure and enhance socio-emotional skills vary considerably within and across countries. This report presents a synthesis of the OECD’s analytical work on the role of socio-emotional skills and proposes strategies to raise them. It analyses the effects of skills on a variety of measures of individual well-being and social progress, which covers aspects of our lives that are as diverse as education, labour market outcomes, health, family life, civic engagement and life satisfaction. The report discusses how policy makers, schools and families facilitate the development of socio-emotional skills through intervention programmes, teaching and parenting practices. Not only does it identify promising avenues to foster socio-emotional skills, it also shows that these skills can be measured meaningfully within cultural and linguistic boundaries.

Published on March 10, 2015Also available in: Spanish, French, Portuguese

In series:OECD Skills Studiesview more titles


Foreword and Acknowledgements
Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive summary
The role of education and skills in today's world
Learning contexts, skills and social progress
Skills that foster lifetime success
Learning contexts that drive skill formation
Policies, practices and assessments that enhance social and emotional skills
How to foster social and emotional skills?
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