Equitable Social-Emotional Learning and Mindfulness
Countering Systemic Oppression in Secondary Classrooms with Personal Practices and an Empowering Approach
Keywords:Social-emotional learning, mindfulness, equity, systemic oppression, hermeneutic
Black Lives Matter’s revelations and Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action both challenge educators to critically examine our practices, including practices like social-emotional learning. Proponents of social-emotional learning and mindfulness argue the practices advance equity, while critics contend that positivist perspectives instill dominant cultural values within the practices. Informed by hermeneutic traditions, I analyzed interview discourse from five teachers in an urban, Western Canadian school board. Integrating participant perspectives on social-emotional learning and equity with current research literature, I found implicit bias leads educators implementing social-emotional learning to focus on student deficits, perpetuating systemic oppression. Yet, implementing practices thoughtfully empowers students. Educators must first implement social-emotional learning for their own self-awareness, while also implementing practices within a social justice framework. Articulating a potential framework for equitably implementing social-emotional learning, results of my study illuminate opportunities for educators.
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