I’m not going to write a long post today, but I am going to link to a long article. I’m hoping you’ll click the link and spend some time with it. The article is posted on the Free Black Thought Substack which has links to many other articles by free black thinkers.
This particular article discusses SEL, or Social Emotional Learning, something you’ll see on many school district web sites. If you doubt the need for some sort of social and emotional learning, I suggest you take in a YouTube video of “room clears,” the latest strategy for coping with seriously disruptive students. (Hint: the teacher escorts all of the kids who are behaving out of the classroom, leaving the disruptive student free to tear the room apart.)
In the article, “Social Emotional Learning: Empowerment or Ideology,” authors Jason Littlefield and Erec Smith offer a nuanced, thorough history of SEL and discuss a recent shift from “traditional” SEL to “transformative” SEL. The transformative model takes its cue from Critical Race Theory and shifts the goal from helping kids become resilient young people who can work for changes in society. In its place, schools focus attention on the flaws in society but lose the thread of creating resilient people who are able to effect change. The authors say it better, and discuss Empowered Humanity Theory and how it relates to SEL.
Teachers discuss “Room Clears”