June 8th, 2020

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.

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, curriculum, Integrating SEL into academics, SEL & Equity, Trauma-informed practices

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Comments (3)

Comments (3)

We absolutely need to deepen our practice in this area. In our district we work with our access and equity unit to develop SEL professional developments collaboratively.

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Ms. Melissa, You brought up a point that is a difficult one to address. You cited the Yale Center which I am unfamiliar with, but found its quote on including sociopolitical context to be a significant factor of challenge. When students emotions are activated, in that something has triggered their amygdala, and that leads to memory creation. A challenge here is controlling that emotional output, or channelling it in a productive way.
For example, the BLM movement currently happening is significant. It is blowing up the Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook streams, and the kids are wondering how to go about talking about this or exploring it further. It is a moving topic that kids would remember talking about. How would you go about bringing this into the classroom? I am trying to gather ideas and what this type of teaching could look like. Thanks for posting.

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Teaching Tolerance (https://www.tolerance.org) has some great resources for teaching about racism and the current events. My point is more about ensuring that our SEL is not taught through the lens of whiteness with an erasure of the cultural context and the very real systemic bias and violence our students face.

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