Social emotional learning must address race in order to change racism!
Should social emotional learning programs exclude race? Not at all! I believe it should included. We should be teaching our students about race and race relations in school. Social emotional learning must address race in order to change racism. It must also do this in order to help black and brown children in schools. There are Black educators who have different opinions on SEL. If done correctly, SEL can offer solutions to heal black and brown children and families who are victims of racism in America. There are ways that social emotional learning programs can teach race.
We must see more stories that reach the hearts and minds of black and brown children. This is why having a curriculum that includes Character Education works. Service Learning Projects are also a great way to teach children the importance of embracing our unique differences. Inclusion starts in the curriculum. Students come from various backgrounds. We must ensure that our school cultures and curriculums are inclusive of all cultures. We must also work harder to change the story for children of color in schools. There are many road blocks that prevent these students from seeing success. Being intentional and inclusion helps to change the success stories.
#2 Cultural Acceptance
We have a large number of students who don’t feel affirmed. Their culture and presence is missing from the mission and vision of the school. They’re not incorporate in the language. Their heritage isn’t celebrated throughout the school year. They are not seen in photos or passages in curriculum that displays them in a different light other than what’s see in the media. Cultural acceptance begins with the foundation of the school. It must go beyond the lessons in Social Studies classes. It begins with the design of the faculty and staff, community resources and student support offerings.
Social emotional learning teaches us the importance of diversity in race. We automatically classify people as white, black, brown, yellow and recently orange. What about people who are multi-racial? Those who come from blended families. How do they handle the pressures of racial hatred in America? How difficult is it for children who have a Black father and a white mother in America to go to a school that doesn’t embrace their parents? The children who have mothers who are Christian and fathers who are Muslim whose schools depict Muslims as terrorists. Diversity begins in our homes, embraced throughout communities and taught in schools. Our society is very black and white. Our schools should be filled with color, variety and differences that create a conducive learning atmosphere.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.