Preventive Discipline / Socioemotional Learning
Making SEL Culturally Competent Through Critical Consciousness
An equitable socioemotional learning model works to nurture students’ critical consciousness


Promoting socioemotional learning as a way to prevent misbehavior from occurring in the first place represents a necessary step away from the oppressive practice of depending on punitive forms of discipline. However, using the socioemotional learning model does not in itself produce equitable learning conditions. By Making SEL Culturally Competent, we can begin to recognize power dynamics within our schools and support our students in challenging injustices. In this article, the authors discuss the importance of presenting students with frameworks that help them recognize, understand, and talk about oppression. Furthermore, the authors posit that schools should be a place where students challenge injustices. For marginalized youth, this development of critical consciousness is associated with greater resilience, self-esteem, academic achievement, political engagement, and professional aspirations.