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The Social-Emotional Learning Bait-and-Switch


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July 182022

Critical Education Theory Series, Part 17

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is a key battleground topic in education today. Parents across the country are rightly very upset that what sounds like and could be a very useful program for kids who struggle in certain ways at school has far less wholesome purposes. On the one hand, they're noticing that SEL tends to be misapplied in classrooms and through other subjects, not in controlled therapeutic settings with kids who have been identified to need it. On the other hand, they've noticed far more nefarious uses like data mining of children and a diversion of educational resources into overtly grooming and Marxist programs they don't support or want for their kids. In this episode of the New Discourses Podcast, host James Lindsay goes through a paper on Social-Emotional Learning in the context of the pandemic to reveal that there's an intentional bait-and-switch being sold to school districts (unless they realize what they're doing, which is unconscionable). What sounds good in SEL is being sold to promote "Transformative SEL" (CASEL model) or, in this paper, "Social-Emotional Learning for Social-Emotional Justice (SEL-SEJ)," which is just a different description of essentially the same thing. What's obvious here is how flimsy SEL programs of this type are and also how overwhelmingly Marxist in the Paulo Freirean mold Lindsay is exposing in tremendous depth here on the New Discourses Podcast. Join him to learn about how SEL is definitely not what it might seem to be.

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