History of CRTWC

New teacher performance standards in Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio, and California call attention to the need for teachers prepared to address the social-emotional dimensions of teaching and learning. Further, there is a new call to look at SEDTL competencies within the social, political, and cultural contexts of the students we teach. Yet, the development of a pipeline of incoming teachers who are able to use a combined Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) / Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) lens to inform their teaching practice has been left largely unattended. Indeed, most teacher preparation programs do not have the resources needed to begin the task. With the additional knowledge now provided by current neuroscience and psychology research, we know that learning is impacted by our emotions and our cultural and socio-political contexts. Research conducted by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) shows a strong correlation between social-emotional learning and academic success. The current educational landscape also includes recent implementation of Common Core State Standards, high rates of suspensions, increased incidents of bullying, and higher school dropout rates. SEL skills are not only foundational to achievement of current academic standards but are necessary to address these other issues.

The Center for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child (aka Collaborative for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child) began in 2009 with the goal of responding to the compelling research on social-emotional learning (SEL). We believe that SEL/CRT skills must be integrated into the very thinking of teachers from the time they enter a professional preparation program. CRTWC, therefore, set as its goal the integration of SEL into the content of K-8 teacher preparation courses.

From 2009-2016 we worked within the San Jose State University Department of Elementary Education with faculty, field supervisors, and cooperating teachers to integrate social-emotional learning skills into the course and field experiences of teacher candidates. During these years, course syllabi, as well course assignments and program documents, have changed to reflect explicit attention to the social-emotional dimensions of teaching and learning (SEDTL). Additionally, we have taken on the task of moving our approach to the integration of SEL skills, competencies, and habits of mind in teacher preparation to include attention to the social-political and cultural context of our students, thus moving the field of SEL beyond a eurocentric perspective. Our project, now under the fiscal sponsorship of Community Initiatives, is in the process of developing a vehicle to scale and replicate our work at other universities.