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Branksome Hall News

Social-Emotional Learning Intrinsically Linked to our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Priorities

After beginning an exploration and commitment into diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the fall of 2020, a clear curricular connection between DEI and the concept of social-emotional learning emerged.
Social-emotional learning (SEL), which draws on the five interrelated areas of competence that include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making, is a key part of the IB curriculum and an important component of life at Branksome. DEI and SEL are linked through the goals of equity, respect and empathy for each person in our society.

By uniting these two approaches, we avoid siloing. The article, "Living an Integrated Mindset: Social-emotional Learning (SEL) and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)" written by former Lead Social Worker Joelle Therriault, current Lead Social Worker Dr. Carolyn Mak, and Dr. Mira Gambhir, Head, Research and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, discusses these important intersections.

“An integrated mindset recognizes the inextricable relationship between equity and social-emotional learning,” explains Dr. Mak. “When social-emotional skill development is approached with an equity lens, it helps to identify and make explicit the inherent oppression, inequities, and biases that exist in our communities and society. This is key to understanding how empathy, respect, dialogue, privilege, power, intersectionality, and social action operate in our world.”

DEI and SEL work is not just an idea, but is active in many facets of school life, including the values: Inclusiveness, a Sense of Community, Creativity, and Making a Difference. These school values are a critical part of our curriculum and shape the experience of our students, as well as the caring adults who educate and support them.

There are practical ways in which these values and practices are seen:
  • Creating space for multiple perspectives and voices. Power and privilege exist within our community and benefit some more than others. We are committed to both shifting and mitigating this reality.  
  • Embracing the beauty and learning that can occur when we see difference. No culture or group is a monolith and recognizing the strengths within, and between, communities helps us learn more about ourselves and each other.
  • Embracing empathy and compassion. Oppression dehumanizes so we need to work to humanize and see one another fully. Treat others the way they want to be treated AND as you want to be treated. 
  • Understanding that perseverance, resilience, and response to adversity can be experienced differently. We think broadly and develop strategies as we consider what this means for individuals and for communities.  
To read more about how Branksome Hall strives to foster an integrated SEL and DEI mindset in 2022, click here.
We wish to acknowledge this land on which Branksome operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and go to school on this land.

Setting the new standard for girls' education everywhere takes collective action. From all of us.