Educating and nurturing the whole child is an art. To create a learning environment based on equity, it’s best that we take a look at the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) framework.
You might wonder how this particular framework could help our children. Social and Emotional Learning promotes educational equity by establishing harmonious relationships between the families and educators.
This is made possible with the help of intensive family engagement activities. Collaborative relationships are the key ingredient to a successful academic journey. Social and Emotional Learning also emphasizes the importance of empowering children and encouraging them to help co-create an equitable schooling system.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the value that the Social and Emotional Learning framework can add to our children’s lives and how it counteracts systemic racism. Read on to find out more!
A Brief History of Social and Emotional Learning
It is safe to say that modern Social and Emotional Learning has been developed by a Black man. New Haven residents had the unprecedented opportunity of enjoying the wonders of this framework, all thanks to Dr. James Comer.
The Comer School Development Program had one main goal in sight ━ to help poor ethnic minority youth achieve educational equity and excellence, despite rampant systemic racism.
Dr. James Comer recognized the importance of family engagement activities right from the start. He saw family engagement as a way to gain parents’ trust so they would collaborate with their children’s educators.
In his book titled School Power (1980), he reiterated the importance of implementing family engagement activities for the improvement of overall student achievement. Dr. James Comer’s efforts paved the way for the CASEL organization. CASEL cemented the universal importance of the Social and Emotional Learning framework.
Without a welcoming school climate and a culturally affirming curriculum, our children will continue to be victimized by intergenerational poverty and systemic racism.
Why After-School Programs Value Social and Emotional Learning
While schools may still hesitate to make use of the Social and Emotional Learning framework, most after-school programs prove that they are early adopters for all the right reasons. The ever-changing needs of our youth need to be addressed right away.
The biased manner of educating minorities is counteracted by the myriad of culturally respectful and responsive after-school programs available out there. As concerned parents and educators, we have the responsibility to search for empowering alternatives.
After-school activities that involve the Social and Emotional Learning framework are actively encouraging better academic outcomes and are promoting some of the most valuable problem-solving abilities that a child could possess.
Our children deserve to participate in safe and emotionally healthy after-school activities. Research has shown that Social and Emotional Learning has a positive, long-lasting impact on K-12 students, among many other things.
Educational equity is the driving force behind all after-school activities that apply the principles of Social and Emotional Learning.
Social and Emotional Learning Ends Systemic Racism
It has been shown that children from disadvantaged backgrounds have weaker Social and Emotional Learning skills. Getting into college and having a successful career all depend on how well these skills are inculcated.
Here are the 5 types of Social and Emotional Learning skills:
- Self-awareness skills – This set of skills involves a child’s ability to become aware of their emotions and cultural assets. Developing a sense of belonging to their African culture is of the utmost importance.
- Self-management skills – These are perhaps the most important college and career-oriented skills that the Social and Emotional Learning framework provides. They revolve around managing one’s emotions, learning how to manage one’s stress levels, as well as making use of organizational and planning skills in order to cultivate emotional and mental resilience.
- Social awareness skills – The children learn how to identify cultural and social norms and learn how to distinguish between fair and unfair norms They learn how to be empathetic with others and how to recognize their strengths. Most important of all, our youth learns how systemic racism works and how to identify it in others’ behaviors and mindsets.
- Relationship skills – Our youth learns how to nurture healthy, long-lasting relationships with others. They are encouraged to collaborate, communicate their concerns, and have the ability to resolve conflicts by using conflict resolution skills.
- Responsible decision-making skills – At both an individual and institutional level, responsible decision-making skills stand out the most as yet another empathetic outlook at how one should behave in society. By making the right decisions for oneself and for others, the current social norms will be preserved while the ethical standards will continue to thrive. The child learns how to look out for others as well as for their own mental and emotional wellbeing.
Our youth is in dire need of learning and using these skills. Without them, systemic racism will certainly continue to affect the lives of many.
Does Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Promote Educational Equity?
It most certainly does. This framework not only helps our children build social and emotional skills, but also helps them to identify the damaging effects of systemic racism. In a country where most institutions perpetuate racial biases, it’s important to look for solutions.
Until all schools decide to implement this framework, we strongly suggest that you seek out culturally affirming after-school activities. Their efforts to improve student achievement and empower both parents and children via family engagement activities are unparalleled.
The Village Method is more than a regular after-school program. Above all, we value youth development, family engagement, and community outreach programming.
Our main mission is to bring our youth closer to their dreams while familiarizing them with their strong African roots, culture, and traditions. We make use of the Social and Emotional Learning framework as a way to nurture the whole child.
Get involved today and help us build a village of joyful children, parents, and educators!