Emotional Equity: Empowering All Students to Honor and Learn From Their Feelings
For ADVISORS, teachers, deans, counselors, psychologists, social workers, learning specialists, and student life program administrators
“Cheer up.” “Chill out.” “Calm down.” Our language is full of expressions that tell us we should control or change how we feel. Even when we say “it’s OK to be sad” or “you have every right to be angry,” we imply that these emotions are allowed but not ideal. No surprise, then, that some SEL programs focus on managing or coping with certain emotions. Meanwhile, those with marginalized identifiers are often the ones most quickly and frequently told to regulate their emotions so that those with power can stay comfortable.
Emotional equity is when all members of a group are empowered to notice, name, honor, and learn from their feelings. This highly participatory workshop series provides tools and strategies, rooted in evidence-based psychological science, to help educators respond to emotions in values-based ways. The first session is about empowering all students, the second centers those who need more support because of internal factors, and the third centers those who need more support because of external factors.
Session 1: Making Space for All Emotions at School. Explore some of the messages we receive about emotions—and how those messages relate to sociocultural identifiers such as race and gender. Then, we’ll learn a protocol called the Emotions & Values Audit that helps students notice their own emotions, name the values those emotions are connected to, and choose actions in accordance with those values. We’ll explore how to use the protocol in academic classes, advisory groups, parent conferences, and disciplinary incidents, so that all students are empowered to connect their actions to their values, in and out of the classroom. (90 minutes)
Session 2: Supporting Anxious Students in the Classroom. This session explores four ways teachers can support anxious students. First, we will learn simple strategies that can help students cope with anxious. Next, we will consider how to reduce unnecessary anxiety schools cause—particularly when it disproportionately impacts students in historically marginalized groups. Then, we will explore how to make academic tasks meaningful for all students, so that any distress that comes along with those tasks is worthwhile. Finally, we will discover protocols that empower students to connect their emotions to sources of meaning in their lives—so they can choose whether they avoid or approach a psychologically challenging situation. (90 minutes)
Session 3: Caring for the Community After a Bias Incident. Learn how school communities can center the experiences of students in historically marginalized groups when a bias incident occurs—either within the school community or in the wider world. During this session, we’ll discuss some of the disconnections between personal and institutional responses to bias incidents. Then, after collaboratively defining “care,” we’ll discover a framework that helps educators provide targeted care for the students and colleagues who need it most. We’ll end by exploring what equitable care can look like in the short, medium, and long term. (90 minutes)