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Think of social-emotional learning as a prerequisite for ‘happiness 101’

I'd like to offer a little background on the interconnectedness between the Boston area and Psyc 157, dubbed the "happiness class" by students at Yale, other than the fact that the professor is from New Bedford ("Happiness 101," Page A1, April 26).

Laurie Santos says she "brought together work on positive psychology and behavior change, then put it into applied form to create the class. The goal was to rewire the way the students viewed the pursuit of happiness."

This formula is being played out across school districts in Massachusetts, including Boston Public Schools, under the name social-emotional learning, the educational process that helps establish the emotional intelligence in people that is required for happiness.


Yet social-emotional learning teaches far more than a road to happiness. It also gives students the needed skills that form pathways for success in business, for building long-term positive relationships with people, for living up to the values required in every major religion, for having empathy for those less fortunate and in need.

Bringing these important skills out of the corridors of our schools and into the light of public knowledge is required to rewire the way we all think about our pursuit of happiness.

Mitch Lyons


The Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts