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The purpose of this paper is to present a cultural analysis and critique of social and emotional learning. The author identifies the implicit models embedded in approaches to social and emotion learning and raises questions and concerns of its intended and unintended consequences. In conclusion, the article offers some questions to guide practitioners in their decision- making.
Hoffman frames her analysis by suggesting that practitioners of social and emotional learning
programing have failed to deeply engage with cultural diversity and confront its relationship to the politics of power, that is emotional expression is culturally based and therefore subject to influence by the dominate culture. She reasons that in some ways social and emotional learning implementation may adopt a lens that identifies some behavioral problems in terms of individual and/or cultural deficits that present a risk to educational and life success. This is juxtaposed and in opposition to the ideals of developing a culture of empathy, respect and caring that nurture the whole child. Her proposal is that practitioners need to be cognizant that these goals may be in competition with each other if they are to develop meaningful and successful social and emotional learning programs, that is teachers’ messaging that

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