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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Social and Emotional Learning & Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Teaching & the Impact on Student Experiences

  • Author(s): Jara, Shawntanet
  • Advisor(s): Wishard-Guerra, Alison
  • et al.

Social emotional learning (SEL) has emerged as a major thematic and programmatic emphasis in American education today (Hoffman, 2009). SEL is increasingly influencing the day-to-day practice of schools and communities (Elias, 1997). At the same time, increasing proportions of the student population in the United States comes from homes that are culturally and linguistically diverse (Orosco & Aceves, 2009). A contributing factor to the success of SEL is CRST because culture is at the heart of all we do in the name of education. The impact of educator and parent perceptions at the intersection of SEL and CRST may hinder efforts of supporting students to thrive academically and socially. Futhermore, CRST has commonly been examined from the lens of low income and academically struggling schools, with limited research from the lens of affluence and academic prosperity.

The purpose of this study explored and described how three affluent, resource-rich, and academically thriving Kindergarten-3rd grade schools support and/or inhibit SEL and CRST its impact on how student experience school. Among this exploration was to understand what factors shape beliefs and practices of educators and parents regarding SEL and to what degree CRST practices contributed to these factors.

Drawing on parent and educator surveys, semi-structured interviews with teachers, classroom observations, student focus groups and student surveys, I attended to the beliefs, practices, knowledge, and attitudes that contributed to or withheld ways in which SEL and CRST work in tandem. I aimed to illuminate beliefs and practices in order to further understand how SEL and CRST practices correlate, interact and if not, why the lack of integration.

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