Unveiling the Significance of Transformative Social and Emotional Learning: Empowering Agents of Social Transformation

Unveiling the Significance of Transformative Social and Emotional Learning: Empowering Agents of Social Transformation

Copyright: © 2024 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/979-8-3693-0537-9.ch015
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Transformative social and emotional learning represents an evolution in the conventional approach to social-emotional learning. It extends beyond the cultivation of emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills to emphasize the development of critical consciousness, empathy, and agency among learners. This transformative process equips individuals with the tools and mindset needed to confront social injustices and actively engage in positive societal change. Promoting transformative social and emotional learning (SEL) in the classroom can improve children's well-being. Achieving the goals of transformative SEL is a collaborative effort. This chapter seeks to delve deeper into the profound significance of transformative SEL, shedding light on how it has the power to empower individuals to become effective agents of social transformation and contribute to a more equitable and just society. This chapter aims to explore the significance of transformative SEL and its potential to empower individuals to become agents of social transformation.
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In the ever-evolving landscape of education, the need for social and emotional learning (SEL) has become increasingly evident. However, as our understanding of student needs and societal challenges deepens, another chapter unfolds—Transformative Social and Emotional Learning (TSEL). Research shows early SEL competencies, “including behavior regulation, attentional skills, and problem-solving skills, are critical to children’s academic outcomes” (Loftus, 2021). This chapter explores the importance of expanding the conventional SEL framework to embrace a transformative approach. TSEL not only supports students' individual development but also equips them to critically engage with and challenge social injustices. It is crucial to establish a clear understanding: Transformative SEL expands the traditional SEL frameworks by incorporating a lens of activism within the educational realm (Mahoney & Weissberg, 2018). To create and sustain this equitable environment using this approach, involving schools, communities, and teachers is necessary; this involvement is crucial for supporting the holistic development of children and ensuring not only their educational success but also their success beyond schooling.

As the world becomes more diverse and interconnected, classrooms are no longer homogeneous. Students come from various cultural backgrounds, bringing unique experiences, perspectives, and values. Educators have a significant responsibility to foster an inclusive and equitable classroom environment that respects and values the diverse cultural identities of our students. In this pursuit, educators, communities, and institutions alike have long recognized the pivotal role that SEL plays in shaping not just students’ academic outcomes but their lives as a whole. This chapter delves into how Transformative SEL impacts student growth and skills in advocating for political changes. Transformative SEL aids in equipping children with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to address the ongoing issues facing their communities and the world. Such issues as social justice, equity, and inclusivity. Integrating TSEL into educational practices can pave the way for a brighter future where children thrive personally and become catalysts for positive societal change (Mahoney & Weissberg, 2018). A collaborative effort involving schools, communities, and teachers is crucial for supporting the holistic development of children and ensuring their educational success. Transformative SEL takes the process a step further by emphasizing the development of identity, empathy, and agency in addressing social injustices and creating positive change in society. This chapter aims to explore the significance of Transformative SEL and its potential to empower individuals to become agents of social transformation. This chapter will explore the rationale behind the increasing emergence of Transformative SEL, understand what Transformative SEL is, how it empowers young learners, and the impact of Transformative SEL.

Historical Context

As we examine history, a connection exists between SEL and equity in a cultural and historical context (Jagers et al., 2018). Issues such as racism, oppression, and sexism have deeply permeated American society for decades, inflicting enduring harm on the educational system that continues to persist even today. Deeply entrenched ideals of racism stem from the accumulation of wealth and prestige within the American culture, according to Watson (2016). American class systems quickly took root to oppress and exploit those of color. Inequalities in economic standing, health access, and education become apparent and ingrained. As our world becomes more interconnected and technologically advanced, we might expect the opportunities for quality education to become more equitable, fostering an environment where every student could thrive (Jagers et al., 2018). The Collaborative Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning framework aids in systemic implementation of various forms of SEL to pursue educational equity for all students through schoolwide practices, policies, and family and community partnerships. By incorporating transformative SEL, educational institutions can create safe and inclusive spaces that foster empathy, compassion, and social responsibility (California Department of Education, n.d.). As our world grows increasingly complex, marked by challenges and social injustices, the mandate for SEL has evolved (Mahoney & Weissberg, 2018).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Equitable: Environment : An environment free from discrimination, biases, and prejudice.

Empathy: The ability to comprehend and share the feelings and emotions of another individual.

Interpersonal Skills: Skills that enable an individual to interact well with others, such as communication and active listening.

Social Justice: The action of ensuring individuals’ rights is recognized and protected.

Equity: This is fairness; the quality of impartiality.

Agency: This refers to the empowerment of students to have an active role in their learning.

Competencies: A set of objectives that describe specific interrelated knowledge, skills and behaviors that can be measured.

Communities: A group of people living in the same area.

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