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Social-Emotional Learning Through an Ant-Racist Curriculum

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of UTW or it's parent affiliates.

By Shannon Edwards (North High School)

Whether we begin instruction in person or virtual, a renewed focus on social and emotional learning will be part of our lesson plans. Along with the stress of Covid-19, economic crisis, and school closures, our country is facing a reckoning in confronting racial injustice. These sources of trauma are not mutually exclusive; existing racial inequities have magnified the losses for our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) populations. Social-emotional learning and cultural proficiency should be integrated with our content rather than taught as separate lessons.

Social-Emotional StandardConnection to Anti-racist Curriculum
Character DevelopmentTeach concepts of justice and equity as shared values; explore the ethical implications of controversial issues. Encourage students to create a list of shared values for their class or school.
Personal DevelopmentTeach the rich history of various cultures. Do not diminish groups by portraying them as perpetual victims. Allow students of all backgrounds to view themselves as heroes in the American story. Balance discussions of oppression and inequity with examples of achievement.
Social DevelopmentHelp students view material through different perspectives. Reject “colorblind” philosophy and teach students to embrace cultural differences instead of ignore them.

The lessons we teach, and the way that we teach them, have a powerful effect on the way students see themselves and others. Our children—and our staff-- are traumatized from the overlapping crises facing our country. Schools are the heart of our communities, not because of our buildings, but because of our values. Together, we can heal.

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