Many educators recognize the significance of social-emotional learning and we, rightfully so, are always aiming to increase its presence in our schools. But did you know that social-emotional learning (SEL) and equity are two sides of the same coin? This means that we are not truly teaching into SEL unless we talk about race and anti-racism in our classrooms. If we value children’s understanding of self and their positive relationships with others in a community, then we have to acknowledge that children are not all made the same and are not all treated fairly by society.
Teachers alone cannot solve racism, but we have an awesome responsibility to be a part of the solution and to take steps towards educating ourselves and the students that we love. Understandably, the subject matter can be intimidating, but teachers have always figured out how to talk about difficult topics in age-appropriate ways, and can continue to do so in a way that pushes back against our collective biases.