Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Practices

State Resource Center: Culturally Responsive Practices

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Positive relationships between students and adults are reciprocal, attuned, culturally responsive, and trusting. These relationships provide a sense of security and inclusion, enhance student resilience and coping, protect students from risk factors such as trauma, and contribute to higher engagement and achievement and positive long-term outcomes. Racial/ethnic, class, and gender inequities are vexing problems that hamper individual student learning, as well as our collective efforts to achieve the democratic ideals of U.S. society.

CASEL recommends that states provide guidance for learning goals, teaching practices, and approaches that are culturally and linguistically appropriate and engaging for all. The resources below can help.

Resources from CASEL

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Feel free to download, customize, and use with attribution, e.g., “Adapted from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning and used with permission.”

  • SEL District Resource Center. Our digital platform has resources, tools, and templates for school districts that includes a section dedicated to equity. It discusses how SEL is a lever for equity, how equity connects to SEL competencies, considerations for implementation, and annotated external resources. Access the platform.
  • Equity & Social and Emotional Learning: A Cultural Analysis. This brief examines how CASEL’s competencies reflect issues of equity, including programs and practices that support the development of the competencies to promote educational equity. (November 2018). Download the PDF.
  • Why We Can’t Have Social and Emotional Learning Without Equity. CASEL’s Vice President of Research, Robert J. Jagers, authored this blog post about the importance of equity and the intersection of equity in CASEL’s five core competencies. (July 2018). View the blog.
  • Leveraging SEL to Promote Equity—What Educators Need to Know and Do. Equity in education requires a physically and emotionally safe and positive school climate for all students. Building strong social and emotional competencies, for both teachers and students, can play a key role in ensuring education equity. (February 2018). View the webinar (via YouTube).

Resources from Other Organizations

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  • Pursuing Social and Emotional Development Through a Racial Equity Lens: 5 Strategies for System Leaders to Take Action. Aspen Institute. Use this to develop ideas for how to employ SEL as a way to encourage equity throughout a system. (May 2018) View the report.
  • Advancing Equity through ESSA: Strategies for State Leaders. Aspen Institute and Council of Chief State School Officers. A discussion of how ESSA promotes equity in eight key areas, including recommendations on closing funding gaps. The report is important for state education agencies that want to employ ESSA to accomplish multiple initiatives. (October 2016). Download the report.
  • Leading for Equity: Opportunities for State Education Chiefs. Council of Chief State School Officers. The report outlines specific actions for state education chiefs to improve equity through social and emotional learning throughout the state education system. (October 2018). Download the report.
  • Applying an Equity Lens to Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report describes barriers that prevent equitable access to SEL and identifies opportunities to increase access. (June 2018). Download the report.
  • Restorative Justice (RJ) Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Narrative Processes (NP). Restorative Schools Vision Project. The document provides a look at how school psychologists can employ culturally competent SEL and support equity. (2006). Download the report.

Resources from States and School Districts

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  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Social and Emotional Learning for All: Access, Cultural Proficiency, and Cultural Responsiveness. The brief provides guidance and specific practices for district leaders, school leaders, and teachers on access, cultural proficiency, and cultural responsiveness for SEL practice. Download the brief.
  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Educator Effectiveness Guidebook for Inclusive Practice. The guidebook provides multiple resources, including videos, rubrics, and assessments, for a teacher’s practice to develop inclusive instruction in the classroom. View the guidebook.
  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – SEL Planning Tool for Inclusive Practice. How to design lesson plans for inclusive SEL practice. Download the resource.
  • Michigan Department of Education – Early Childhood to Grade 12 Social and Emotional Learning Competencies and Indicators. The resource includes information on cultural connections and equity on pages 8-9. (2017) Download the resource.
  • Minnesota Department of Education – Great Lakes Equity Center SEL Implementation Guide. The webpage serves as an example of broad guidelines for school-based SEL and equity implementation. Access the webpage.
  • New York Educational Department – Social Emotional Learning—Essential for Learning, Essential for Life. The report addresses the need for SEL in New York’s schools and serves as an introduction to a series of resources: voluntary Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks, a Guide to Systemic Whole School Implementation, and a series of school district-developed crosswalks aligning SEL competencies with learning standards in the content areas. (August 2018). Download the report.

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