With regards to efforts to imagine more equitable spaces of learning for all students, we are compelled to ask: How can SEL programs address the needs of marginalized, minoritized, and/or historically under-resourced students without deeply considering the cultured context of social interaction and school learning? Although evidence shows SEL programs yield benefits in multiple domains, most programs are based on monolithic approaches that often do not consider dynamics of power and oppression in the context of schooling. In this paper, we discuss the crucial role of culture in SEL frameworks. We propose adopting an interdisciplinary lens to integrate culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) and culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP) into SEL programs to promote student well-being and academic achievement across contexts.

Author Biography

Julia Mahfouz

Julia Mahfouz is an assistant professor in the Educational Leadership program, Department of Leadership and Counseling at the University of Idaho. Mahfouz’s research interests include exploring the social and emotional dynamics of educational settings and their effect on school climate. She is particularly focused on applying her research to improving principal preparation programs and enhancing the principals’ social-emotional competencies and their capacity to cultivate a supportive learning environment for improved student outcomes and over-all school improvement.

Vanessa Anthony-Stevens

Vanessa Anthony-Stevens holds a doctorate in Language, Reading and Culture from the University of Arizona. Her academic formation is in the areas of educational anthropology and Indigenous education. Anthony-Stevens’s research explores discourse, identity and school achievement in bicultural/intercultural indigenous education, and in the preparation of teachers to serve diverse communities. As a researcher and teacher-educator, Anthony-Stevens analyzes contexts of education from a sociocultural perspective. She approaches research and teaching as practices of social justice, where privileging community relationships, power-sharing, co-authorships and praxis are central to the process and product of scholarship.

Why Cultural Relevant for SEL Poster.pdf (9420 kB)
Collage Poster

Bios of Authors.docx (14 kB)
Bios of Authors.docx



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