The School of Education recently hosted a powerful, interactive event focused on Social Emotional Learning. Attended by over 50 faculty, students, and alumni, the event was titled, “Orienting Social Emotional Learning Towards Equity” and was facilitated by Dr. Deepa Bhandaru.
Dr. Bhandaru is an educator and writer in Seattle. She earned her PhD in political science from the University of Washington, where she specialized in political theory and cultural studies. She’s passionate about community-based education and spent years leading and developing arts and advocacy programs for youth of color in South Seattle. Her writings on power and culture in American society have appeared in academic journals and popular media. She currently teaches political science at South Seattle College and conducts social and emotional learning assessments for youth programs through Schools Out Washington (SOWA). She previously worked as the Youth Program Curriculum Developer & Strategist, Refugee Women’s Alliance.
The workshop began with a brief introduction to WA State’s Social Emotional Learning standards, benchmarks, and indicators, offering a guide to resources. Then, using scenarios and other interactive activities, participants explored how implementing SEL without careful examination of culture, power, race, and other identities can further exacerbate existing inequality and oppression. The workshop concluded with a focus on how educators might use SEL as a means to further educational equity and students’ well-being.