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View Webinar on Integrating Social and Emotional Learning, Cultural Competence

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On November 14, I had the privilege of moderating the first in a series of webinars produced through a partnership of AACTE and the Educator Preparation Laboratory (EdPrepLab). This webinar, “Social and Emotional Learning, Cultural Competence, and Equity in Teacher Preparation,” will be followed by three others focusing on transformative research and practice in educator preparation.

Joining me for the webinar were Nancy Markowitz of the Center for Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child, Patty Swanson from San Jose State University, Pat Norman from Trinity University, and Mari Jones from the HighTech High Graduate School of Education.

Both Trinity and High Tech High, where Norman and Jones teach, are members of the EdPrepLab network. EdPrepLab, which launched this year, is an initiative of the Learning Policy Institute and the Bank Street College of Education that aims to strengthen educator preparation in the United States by linking research, policy, and practice and by supporting and expanding preparation that is equity-focused, student-centered, and grounded in the science of learning and development.

Markowitz’s work at The Center for Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child, and Swanson’s in the elementary teacher preparation program at San Jose State University, were featured in a recent report by the Learning Policy Institute, Preparing Teachers to Support Social and Emotional Learning: A Case Study of San Jose State University and Lakewood Elementary School. This first part of the two-part case describes how San Jose State University’s elementary teacher preparation program prepares teachers for the social and emotional dimensions of teaching and learning before they get to the classroom. The second section provides a glimpse into in-service professional development for social and emotional learning (SEL) in Lakewood Elementary School in Sunnyvale, CA. This report shows how preservice and in-service teacher learning can impact teaching practices and the implementation of SEL in schools. 

During the webinar, each of the panelists had an opportunity to present their work. Markowitz described the big ideas and key levers for change that underpin the work of the Center for Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child. She also addressed the anchor competencies framework the center has developed over the last twelve years and highlighted the Center’s Teacher Education Institute, which provides teachers with professional development on social, emotional, and cultural lenses in learning.

Swanson drew examples from her math methods courses at San Jose State University to describe how teachers can become competent in culturally responsive teaching and help students bring self-awareness to their work. She also spoke from her perspective as department chair, describing the developmental trajectory that teacher educators can create for teacher candidates to learn and apply social emotional learning and culturally responsive practices across program coursework and student teaching.

Norman described how Trinity candidates come to know themselves and their identities within their learning communities, explaining that this knowledge is vital to candidates’ development of the emotional intelligence necessary for culturally responsive pedagogy. She also highlighted the long-standing relationships with professional development schools that make this sort of educator preparation possible, and described some of the tools and the frameworks that Trinity uses to develop candidates’ practice in social emotional learning and equity.

Jones started with the initiatives of the High Tech High Graduate School of Education, including the Deeper Learning Hub, then laid out how teachers learn to unpack systems, reflect on processes, and experience the language and practices of social and emotional learning. She noted the deep connections between project-based learning, intrinsic motivation, and culturally responsive practice. She also emphasized that the co-creation of practice requires educators to have focused time and space to work together and resources to support that work.

After their presentations, our panelists engaged in a discussion and then a Q & A with our audience, further exploring the intersections between social and emotional learning, cultural competence, and equity. We discussed the integration of these skills with academic learning, links between conceptual and practical issues, connections to classroom management and school leadership, and the processes and supports needed to engage and develop teacher candidates throughout their programs.

I hope you will join us for upcoming webinars in this series, which will be hosted in January, March, and May. As dates and topics are finalized, you can find details on the AACTE website.

Maria E. Hyler serves as the deputy director of the Learning Policy Institute (LPI)’s Washington, D.C. office.

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