Adding the Physical to Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
PEL, Physical and Emotional Learning
A New Construct for Physical Education
Sal Edwards, Heart Zones CEO and Founder
Social and emotional learning, or SEL, is a concept that provides valuable ways to learn cooperative and interdependent relationships with others. PEL, physical and emotional learning is an important new concept currently under development. Since SEL in part is about social interactions between individuals and groups, is there a different but related, and possibly more effective method for learning that involves the physical interactions between the individual and their understanding of themselves in a physical way? This brief paper explores a new concept herein named PEL, physical and emotional learning. PEL is a personal construct that is a close cousin to SEL yet different because it leads to the discovery, understanding, and development of the physical nature and uniqueness of each individual.
Physical and emotional learning is a new personal construct that is under development by Heart Zones. This new construct of PEL is being explored to provide a way to internally develop both the personal discovery process as well as a method for individuals to learn about themselves. One definition of PEL is to explore oneself using biofeedback mostly from external resources (tools like wearable technology), and self-learning to experience one’s individual responses to physical and emotional stress, the environment, body position and posture, ambient lighting, types of foods and nutrients, breathing, mindfulness, sleep, and more. PEL is a new and powerful way for students and learners to dig deeper into their personal quest to know themselves first in order to better develop their relationships with others thereafter. A list of the educational standards to develop “physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity and to pursue a lifetime of healthful physical activity.”
Does one’s physical interaction with themselves, internally and externally, affect their emotional response? Let’s consider this example that you yourself may have experienced. Does sleeping 6 hours a day, a physical action, affect one’s emotional activities through the day? Does sleeping 9 hours a day result in one’s heart rate response to vary or their energy levels change? Is there a check list that one can use through the day to see if changes in sleep pattern affect levels of irritability or disturbances? There is a way to measure each individual’s response to many physical experiences using a wearable sensor that can measure heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature, and other physiological responses that measure emotional changes.
Currently, at Heart Zones, we are exploring through a new personal construct that, we believe, to date has never been discussed in the domain of Physical Education and possibly other disciplines. That construct is a valuable component of learning and meets with several of the five national standards for Physical Education (see attached Appendix A). Though closely related there is a clear differentiation between PEL, the internal and external discovery of one’s self through physical experience, and SEL, the expression of social interaction with others such as cooperative and interdependent relationships. Is there a way to create positive behavioral changes in health and fitness by motivating and engaging students using PEL?
Five Key Questions:
- Since SEL in part is about social interactions between individuals andgroups, is there a different but related and possibly more effective method for learning that involves the physical interactions between the individual and their understanding of themselves using measurements of those physical interactions?
- Does one’s physical interaction with themselves, internally and externally, affect their emotional well being?
- Is there a way to create positive behavioral changes in health and fitness by motivating and engaging students using PEL?
- If we learn first about the physical self and its interactions with one individual’s emotional world, then aren’t we better prepared to learn about the social side of our human and individual being?
- Which comes first, SEL or PEL? Is there a scope and sequence of learning that first starts with the physical and then progresses to the social?
More about PEL
Physical and emotional learning, PEL, is the exploration of the inside of oneself as one discovers more about themselves, learning about how each person is unique and different. If we learn first about the physical self and its interactions with the individual’s emotional world, then can’t we do better learning about the external world — the social side of our human and individual being?
Your response to this paper is but the start of this new conversation, and I would deeply appreciate hearing your thoughts and strategies. For example, two areas of concern are (1) content validity and (2) reliability, is the content reproducible?
 Environmental conditions like temperature, altitude, weather, and more.
 SHAPE America’s National Standards & Grade-Level Outcomes for K-12 Physical Education define what a student should know and be able to do as result of a highly effective physical education program. States and local school districts across the country use the National Standards to develop or revise existing standards, frameworks and curricula. https://www.shapeamerica.org/standards/pe/
Personal Construct Theory: It is a notion about how individuals may launch out from a position of admitted unknowing, and how they may aspire from one day to the next to transcend their own dogmatisms by learning. It is, then, a theory of human’s personal inquiry—a psychology of the human quest. It does not say what has or will be found, but proposes rather how we might go about looking for it. https://www.aippc.it/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/2017.01.003.025.pdf