Social Emotional Learning and Mindfulness

Mindfulness at UWC Thailand

At UWC Thailand, we nurture the positive qualities in children so that they are better able to experience intellectual, emotional and physical balance.  In this way, we attend to the ‘whole child’ ~ Good Heart, Balanced Mind, Healthy Body ~ by integrating Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mindfulness into our educational approach.

Social Emotional Learning

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is a process that explicitly develops life skills.  It is an integrated approach that supports the IB curriculum in offering school-wide consistency in language and practice, and offers support in the following:

  • Self-awareness and management – handling our emotions and behaviour skillfully
  • Social awareness and effectiveness – engaging in relationships with care and concern for others
  • Approaching our work effectively and ethically


Mindfulness draws upon the recent convergence of modern science and secularised contemplative training.  It is the cultivation of both attention skills and emotional balance.  With mindfulness, we learn to give ourselves the breathing room we need to take in what’s happening in our inner and outer worlds, and see it more clearly.  It encourages creating a space before speaking or acting in order to choose how to respond wisely in a way that is skilful, kind and compassionate to those involved, including ourselves.

Integrating SEL&M into UWCT’s Curriculum

Learner Profile and IB curriculum: The IB Learner Profile is approached through an SEL lens to promote emotional intelligence and a mindful way of being. The IB curriculum offers many opportunities for SEL integration across the PYP, MYP and DP as well as with Service Learning.

Time In: Daily quiet time is set-aside for both students and teachers to engage in secularised mindfulness practices.  This includes a movement practice, a stillness practice and reflection.  It is an opportunity to calm and ground the mind and body, and shift from the ‘thinking/doing mode of mind’ to the ‘sensing/being mode of mind’. This mode of inquiry can have a grounding effect, and enhances our ability to then engage with a calmer, clearer perspective of what is happening within, to, and around us.

SEL: Social and Emotional Learning provides evidence-based tools that are used for building emotional intelligence – explicit skill development in emotional literacy, self-regulation, peer relations and problem solving are all included in UWCT’s educational programme.

Community Building Practices: Students engage in weekly community building practices to cultivate meaningful dialogue and emotional intelligence.  With the practice of ‘Council’, students speak from the heart, listen from the heart, speak spontaneously and speak leanly.  This structured process encourages deep, honest and heartfelt communication.

Research into SEL

An 11% jump in academic performance in schools with SEL programmes

Increased emotional literacy

Greater self-control

Higher levels of social competence

Positive peer relations

Greater interpersonal problem-solving skills

Research into Mindfulness

Focused Mind

Sharpens and sustains attention

Develops intra-personal awareness

Heightens resilience and emotional balance

Reduces stress, which leads to health benefits

Increases productivity and creativity

Enhances learning and academic performance

Open Heart

Increases positive emotions – compassion, caring

Promotes pro-social behaviour and well-being

Develops inter-personal awareness and communication skills