SEL that integrates emotional intelligence, equity, and culturally responsive practices
Research has shown us that successful implementation of Social Emotional Learning in schools and districts begins with the adults in the system. This requires a commitment to deep professional learning, ensuring that ALL adults understand what SEL is and how to engage students in the practice. However, in a profession that is around 80% white, there is a danger of creating harm instead of improving social, emotional, and academic outcomes. Dena Simmons of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence states, “Educators often teach SEL absent of the larger sociopolitical context, which is fraught with injustice and inequity and affects our students' lives.”
California has an opportunity to collaboratively develop an equity focused definition of SEL, with aligned standards and common survey/assessment questions. This helps us ensure that we are teaching and measuring SEL consistently across the state, and will allow us to develop aligned standalone and integrated OER curricular resources. We can take this time to build knowledge and shift the focus from purchasing a program or adopting an SEL curriculum to creating the capacity to develop equity focused SEL learning to support the needs of ALL learners.