Report Inaccurately Portrays Social Emotional Learning in Schools

BOULDER, Colo., Feb. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — A recent report from the American Enterprise Institute presents concerns regarding how Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) approaches have imposed ideas and techniques from psychology on classroom practices, and thus have shifted the mission of education away from academic instruction. But a review of the report finds misrepresentations of both the definition and the goals of SEL.

Julia Mahfouz of the University of Colorado Denver reviewed The Unexamined Rise of Therapeutic Education: How Social-Emotional Learning Extends K-12 Education’s Reach Into Students’ Lives and Expands Teachers’ Roles and found it to be biased and misleading.

The report warns that the rise in SEL has led schools to assume powers and responsibilities beyond their core mission of focusing on academic skills, claiming that teachers are unprepared to take on “therapeutic” responsibilities. In doing so, however, the report ignores the empirical evidence documenting the positive influence that SEL has on students’ well-being, academic achievement, and sense of citizenship.

Professor Mahfouz explains that the report relies on a misrepresentation of SEL in order to promote misunderstanding and fear about it. The result, she concludes, is a one-sided discussion that does not make an evidence-based contribution and thus is not useful for informing policies.

Find the review, by Julia Mahfouz, at:
https://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/sel

Find The Unexamined Rise of Therapeutic Education: How Social-Emotional Learning Extends K-12 Education’s Reach Into Students’ Lives and Expands Teachers’ Roles, written by Robert Pondiscio and published by the American Enterprise Institute, at:
https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/The-Unexamined-Rise-of-Therapeutic-Education.pdf?x91208

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: http://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: https://nepc.colorado.edu

Media Contact

Michelle Renée Valladares, National Education Policy Center, (720) 505-1958, [email protected]

Julia Mahfouz, University of Colorado Denver, (814) 441-6656, [email protected]

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SOURCE National Education Policy Center

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