Creating “Identity-Safe Classrooms”

Most teachers and administrators are familiar with the terms social-emotional learning (SEL) and culturally responsive pedagogy. They recognize that the concepts these terms embody and their related educational practices are essential if students are going to thrive in school. Researchers and theorists at Collaborative for Social, Emotional and Academic Learning (CASEL) have provided invaluable guidelines for creating positive learning environments, including their most recent recommendations:

  1. Academic content should address issues of race, class, and culture.
  2. Student’s understanding of their own and others’ lived experiences is increases when teachers deliberately scaffold learning to build this understanding and make connections across students’ experiences and identities.
  3. Instruction that enhances and foregrounds students’ social and emotional fosters students’ ability to participate in age-appropriate civic engagement.
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