Through an equity lens, the CASEL 5 SEL competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making can support the development of justice-oriented, global citizens.
The CASEL 5 SEL competencies promote intrapersonal, interpersonal, and cognitive knowledge, skills, and attitudes that support lifelong success. When used as part of a systemic districtwide effort to promote SEL and equity, this framework can further support the development of personal and collective values and positive ethnic-racial identity. Particularly for youth whose cultures and racial-ethnic groups are historically marginalized, this can help minimize the negative impacts of internalized, interpersonal, and institutional oppression and provide ways for students and adults to co-construct solutions to injustices and issues of inequity.
SEL competencies can also promote greater understanding of different cultures and power dynamics, and support students and adults in building relationships and interacting with others across diverse backgrounds. In this way, SEL competencies can be leveraged to develop justice-oriented, global citizens, and nurture inclusive school and district communities.
Below, we elaborate on each of the 5 SEL competencies through an equity lens:
Self-awareness is foundational for equity. It involves understanding your emotions, personal identity based on self-definition and others’ perceptions, goals, and values. This includes accurately assessing your strengths and limitations, having positive mindsets, possessing a well-grounded sense of self-efficacy and optimism.
Developing self-awareness with an equity lens can help students and adults:
Self-management includes managing your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and working toward achieving personal and collective goals.
It’s important to examine an individual’s self-management in relationship to a larger context. Schools, like most other U.S. social institutions, can often prioritize middle-class American cultural values, norms, and practices. For students, such as low-income or immigrant youth, who experience a cultural mismatch between school and home life, this can often lead to a type of stress associated with health and behavioral problems. Additionally, experiences of discrimination and microaggressions can also lead to negative social and emotional outcomes and behaviors.
When leveraged to promote equity, self-management can help students and adults:
Social awareness involves the ability to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and contexts.
Fostering social-awareness through an equity lens can help adults and students to:
Relationship skills involve the abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups. This includes the capacities to communicate clearly, listen actively, cooperate, work collaboratively to problem solve and negotiate conflict constructively, provide leadership, and seek or offer help when needed.
When cultivated with an equity lens, relationship skills can help students and adults:
Responsible decision-making involves making caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations. This includes the capacities to consider ethical standards and safety concerns, and to evaluate the benefits and consequences of various actions for personal, social, and collective well-being.
By fostering equity through SEL, developing responsible decision-making skills can position adults and students to:
Read more about how SEL competencies can support equity in Equity & Social and Emotional Learning: A Cultural Analysis.