Be careful how you talk about SEL

As an educator, you might think it would be relatively noncontroversial to support a curriculum designed to help students manage their emotions, develop better study skills and learn how to work with others.

But you would be wrong, according to this article in The Hechinger Report. School officials are seeing a rise in opposition to, or at least suspicion of, social and emotional learning (SEL) curricula. New research links the controversy to overuse of educational jargon (the article from which the above image and caption comes), mistrust engendered when parents don’t feel sufficiently consulted about what’s going on in their schools, and the general divided political climate.

A Fordham Institute report says parents across the political spectrum express substantial agreement on most SEL-related issues, and they respond well to SEL curricula when presented clear information about what students can be expected to learn. Things don’t go so well when they hear discussion of “social and emotional learning” with no details, the report says.

If this issue has surfaced in your district, would you be willing to add a comment? Feel free to do so below. Thanks.

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