What is

Social + Emotional Learning

All our work is based on the simple idea that there is more in us than we know. By pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones, we grow and learn to lead, together.


Outward Bound’s educational approach has always placed character and intellectual development on equal footing. Our model—to learn by doing, focus on teamwork and communication, and build compassion and resilience—helps to create a sense of courage and belonging that propels our participants forward long after their expedition ends.

Today we are connecting nearly 60 years of OutwardBound educational experience to the broader field of youth learning & development in the U.S. These connections are helping us reach a more equitable audience and better support our students, staff, and other educators.

What is Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)?

Research shows us that ALL LEARNING requires a holistic approach across three interconnected areas:


Memory, planning, attention


Teamwork, communication, conflict resolution


Empathy, understanding, awareness

And yet, not all students have the SEL supports they need.

"Social and emotional learning(SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish andmaintain positive relationships, andmake responsible decisions.”

- The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning On Social,Emotional, and Academic Development

In 2020, 93% of young people reported that social and emotional tools would be helpful to them—and yet 40% OF THESE STUDENTS DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO SEL RESOURCES.

The State of Young People During Covid-19, June 2020

"Evidence confirms that supporting students’ social, emotional, and academic development benefits all children and relates positively to the traditional measures we care about:

– From a Nation At Risk to a Nation At Hope

"I expected to become physically stronger, but never expected the mental strength this course would require and build. I plan to take this newfound strength with me into the world and to keep my current feelings of gratitude I have for every little detail of this world and life.”

Dyllan, age 21

We address the cognitive area through exercises designed to strengthen memory, planning, and attention. We have created learning environments consisting of trusting, collaborative relationships, meaningful curriculum, and continuous evaluation. The program requires teamwork, communication, and conflict resolution to achieve social learning. Finally, to fulfill the crucial emotional aspect of SEL we build empathy, understanding, and awareness within our students, helping address inequity and empower these young people contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities.

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships. The more educators and leaders understand how students learn, the more they are looking for the kinds of skills that our expeditionary programs teach.

Resilience, Social Responsibility, Teamwork

We are ready to bring our skills and expertise to bear on the broader pedagogical framework that guides education in the U.S. And we are delivering the supports that students & educators need, perhaps now more than ever.

Interested in learning more about HIOBS?

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