As a blogger, I read a lot of other blogs.  I love Edutopia and there is a blog post there by Elena Aguilar that really challenged me to think about belief systems and their role in how teachers might approach Social Emotional Learning (SEL). The six belief systems are here (I encourage you to go to the post, I am going to excerpt it here):

  1. Religious Orthodoxy: This ideology aims to teach the habits and values that will lead to that religion’s realization of how life ought to be lived in accordance with that faith. Educators driven by religious orthodoxy strive to help students learn appropriate norms and morality and to conduct their lives according to these norms.
  2. Cognitive Process: Educators who are primarily aligned to this stance believe that the central role of schools is to help students learn to think, reason, and problem solve. Cognitive processors select instructional strategies that involve problem solving and inquiry.
  3. Self-Actualization: Those who believe in self-actualization believe that the purpose of teaching is to bring out the unique qualities, potentials, and creativity in each child. They value student choice and self-directed learning and are keen to provide for students’ unique and multiple needs, interests, and developmental tasks.
  4. Technologist: Technologists place strong emphasis on accountability, test scores, learning specific sub-skills, and measurable learning. They might be “driven by data,” and frequently use terms such as accountability, time on task, mastery, diagnosis, and prescription. This is an ideology which as been adopted by many policy-making bodies in recent decades and is associated with external assessments, high-stakes testing, and teacher performance.
  5. Academic Rationalism: Academic rationalists believe that knowledgeable adults have the wisdom and experience to know what’s best for students. They often deliver teacher-centered instruction, are drawn to the Classics, and use instructional strategies such as lectures, memorization, demonstration, and drill. They evaluate students through summative exams and content mastery.
  6. Social Reconstructionism: Social reconstructionists believe that the purpose of education is to help students become good citizens who can help take care of the world. They view learners as social beings who ought to be concerned with social, political, and environmental issues. They believe that education is an instrument of change and that schools are an institution charged with the responsibility of bringing about a better future and world.

While Aguilar took a different route after this table (about the belief systems and teacher collaboration which we are going to examine at my school), I thought about homeroom teachers.

I imagine Parochial Schools would hire teachers with belief system 1, Religious Othrodoxy, and their social emotional education and curriculum would be centralized around their religious truths.

Belief system 4, Technologist, sounds like the kind of policy maker that is pushing for testing in all areas, even those such as SEL.  Fellow HISEL co-founder Megan Hall wrote about testing in SEL here or see an article about this here.

Belief system 5, Academic Rationalism, challenges me because I have real concern about bias and White Privilege dictating the curriculum and ostracizing non-dominate cultures.  I have a co-worker who falls into this category and we don’t often see eye-to-eye.  I am often advocating for student voice and choice and they have the “we are the adults” position.

Belief systems 2, 3, and 6 appear to me to be belief systems that support SEL in public schools, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the issue.  I also imagine that belief systems may be fluid in areas like mindset is, but I haven’t read the source book yet (it was $70 on my kindle and $10 to order it on paper with a multiweek delivery, it is on the way).


Belief Systems and Social Emotional Learning

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *