Building Community through Shared Spaces and Intention
Keywords:Social Emotional Learning (SEL), democratic professionalism, mindfulness, literacy, social justice
Present-day educational approaches in higher education and K-12 privilege only cognitive gains from students, who are sometimes only seen as test scores, while neglecting the development of the whole human being. This article documents three unique Building Community events at a public university in the northeast, which were designed to embrace the full development of human potential. These events were created to offer novel approaches to education, highlighting and operationalizing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) through mindfulness, literacy, and social justice. The documentation is two-fold: 1) to provide descriptions of each of the three events and the connections between and among Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and mindfulness, literacy and diversity, and 2) to provide an analysis of feedback data and a descriptive framework that makes clear the processes and theories underpinning the events, all of which may provide a beginning roadmap for others to replicate this important work. Qualitative findings suggest that the integration of SEL into classroom theory and practice may be one route to improving and humanizing education.
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