Bite-Sized PD for Educational Equity: What is Social Emotional Learning?

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Today’s Bite-Sized PD for Educational Equity was inspired by:

Pursuing Social and Emotional Development Through a Racial Equity Lens: A Call to Action

By The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program

The Aspen Institute

Key Statement: “In an equitable education system, every student has access to the resources and educational rigor they need at the right moment in their education, irrespective of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, language, disability, family background, family income, citizenship, or tribal status (p. 1)”.

Educators seeking to implement social emotional learning development with an equity lens should do the following. We should avoid common pitfalls of defining students of color by their challenges and instead call out their strengths. Our approach should contextualize SEL within societal realities of oppression and trauma impacting our marginalized student populations. Leadership must ensure that faculty are identifying and reflecting on ways implicit bias and stereotype threat operate within the school community and be explicit about the impacts on student learning. Educators should be able to identify tangible ways that the school celebrates cultural differences. We must ensure that our community is a place of belonging for students who come from both individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Administrators should develop holistic disciplinary policies that include SEL development. Additionally, the budget should include funds for social-emotional learning that promote building trust and relationships between students and faculty members. Professional development should include training on human and child development and culturally responsive teaching. Prioritizing this work requires that educators prioritize their own emotional health; secondary traumatic stress is real! Finally, educators must engage with families and communities on their terms, honoring their values as a means of building trust and delivering rigor.

Top Five

These are the top five benefits of SEAD - social emotional and academic development (p3).

  1. Gains in student achievement, including test scores, on-time graduation rates, and post-secondary enrollment and completion;
  2. Reduced incidence of delinquency and other challenging behaviors;
  3. Improved long-term outcomes in employment, health, and civic engagement;
  4. Reduced rates of depression, anxiety, and risky behaviors;
  5. Development of skills that are highly valued among employers.

Do Now - Identify a tangible way in which your school celebrates cultural differences.

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