By Kristina Hulvershorn
Years ago, I developed a critique of the field of SEL (Social and Emotional Learning). I believed that we were selling youth potential short when we limited children’s exposure to the kinds of problems in their immediate communities. Most SEL involved helping teachers control behavior, rather than unleashing powerful problem-solving kids’ potential.
Of course, I believe that it’s crucial for kids to learn how to address conflict and be responsible decision-makers, but we shouldn’t limit the context of these social skills to their relationships and their classrooms. What about the broader community? What about other species? What about communities that they may never interact with directly? What about the planet at large?
Eventually, I realized that SEL wasn’t the problem…it was that humane education wasn’t explicitly part of most SEL initiatives. This could be addressed by increasing access to high-quality curricula, training, and materials that infuse humane …