Justice of the Heart

Skill training to promote both compassion and action

Why social justice in an SEL program?

In world that is increasingly diverse and often fractured along lines of class, race, gender, sexual orientation, physical, emotional and mental disabilities, and religion, it’s not enough to teach students traditional interpersonal skills – which are often culturally mediated – and expect that to automatically translate into healthy, non-violent behavior

If we expect kids not to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, and to avoid reckless, aggressive and/or passive behavior, then they need the skills to change the things in the world that are causing them pain.

That is why we include skill training to promote social justice, along with problem solving tools to address specific kinds of trauma, as well as more traditional, personal and interpersonal training in our social-emotional learning program. We have multimedia lessons on racism, poverty, religious difference, gender identity, and sexual orientation, each leading to key skills needed to succeed in a democratic society – from participating in community, to exercising rights, to confronting institutional injustice.

Look for occasional updates on our social justice themes or links we want to share here:

  • Here is a short exercise called: “Disproportionate discipline – what if it’s less about race than religion?”   It can be a productive conversation starter. Its goal is to support your efforts to encourage reflection and initiate discussion among your staff about topics like disproportionality, educator bias, and achievement discrepancies.  Use it for professional development, in a PLC or at a staff meeting.
  • In this exercise, Hate Won’t Win, Ripple Effects multimedia tutorials are matched to a pivotal sentence in the eulogy delivered by President Obama at Mother Emmanuel Church, providing a powerful, three-part lesson in the relationship between self-awareness, empathy, and social justice.


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