Occasional Paper Series #43
Possibilities and Problems in Trauma-based and Social Emotional Learning Programs
Social, emotional, and affective experiences are central to all that we do and believe about others. Increasingly, popular school and community-based programs attempt to address the emotional lives of children and youth. The widespread use of programs such as social emotional learning (SEL) frameworks and trauma-informed practices, sometimes referred to as ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), are on the rise. Advocates for these programs claim that attending to SEL and trauma creates a necessary foundation for greater self-awareness, better relationships, and improved learning capacities. Critics suggest that these programs often focus on those who are marginalized through race, class, and/or experiences of violence, including familial violence, and can lead to labeling, marginalizing legitimate expressions of difference, and demanding specific types of behavioral and cultural conformity in order for students to be deemed “learning ready.”
Issue #43 of the Bank Street Occasional Paper Series will explore the impact of the new attention given to social and emotional learning and trauma-informed pedagogies. In this issue, we seek to critically examine both possibilities and problems raised by the adoption of these efforts. While we are encouraged to see the ways educators, practitioners, therapists, and curriculum planners position social and emotional dimensions as worthy of attention, we are also apprehensive about what happens when expressions of emotion are routinely positioned as in need of correction, healing, or fixing.
In this call, we invite educators, practitioners, therapists, and curriculum planners and theorists to report on non-pathologizing approaches to working with and for children targeted as in need of services within SEL- and trauma-informed pedagogies. We look for papers that offer critical, humanizing perspectives with a goal of re-envisioning possibilities for the social and emotional well-being of students.
This call seeks papers that address the following kinds of questions:
- How might trauma or social-emotional framework and/or programming shape educators, practitioners, therapists, and curriculum planners’ beliefs and create damaging and/or positive effects on the children and youth they serve? How do we cast light on these complicated, troubling, and hopeful effects?
- What kinds of frameworks, professional development programs, pedagogies, and community programs are being implemented that show promise and innovation in supporting the social and emotional lives of children and youth from marginalized communities, especially those with histories of violence (both intergenerational and systemic) and familial (domestic)?
- In what ways might SEL and trauma-based pedagogies perpetuate inequities or function to pathologize difference?
We encourage authors to take a critical stance on their struggles and limitations as well as successes. We are especially interested in papers that include personal, educational, and community-based narratives, multimodal representations, as well as research studies.