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Schools Owe Students Culturally- and Trauma-Informed
Social and Emotional Learning

Carla Yuridia Balvaneda (March, 2022)


Social and emotional learning (SEL) refers to the process in which individuals develop the adequate knowledge and tools to understand, process, feel, and express their emotions across interpersonal and external relationships. There are five core competencies that guide SEL, developed by Collaborative of Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) which are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship building, and responsible decision-making. Many are encouraged by the prospect of offering SEL curricula across schools to mitigate classroom behavior, student-to-student and student-to-teacher relationships, and empower students to work towards their own goals. However, given the historical contexts of exclusivity and white normative curricula in the United Stated public education system, critics are reasonably concerned with SEL’s ability to respond to the needs of our most underserved children. For this reason, schools adopting SEL frameworks must be centered on culturally- and trauma-informed philosophies.

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