SEL Theme: Inclusion

SEL Theme: Inclusion

Compassionate Classrooms Create Inclusion

What does the word inclusion mean to you? In school communities, its meaning varies depending on who you are. If you are a parent of a child with disabilities, it might carry one meaning. A general education teacher, another. How we define and, just as importantly, how we feel about the term will impact how we implement inclusion for all students on our campus. One organization, lays it out with a formula called the 3 Rs

  • Respect: All students have names, gifts, talents. All students belong and are known by their names and unique personalities and strengths—not by numbers or scores.
  • Relationships: When students are respected and accepted as full members of their school community, relationships develop. Students are no longer isolated but are connected members of a school community.
  • Responsibility: Once relationships form, teachers, students, and parents develop the capacity to better address all kinds of student diversity and share the responsibility for student success.


A 7-minute video on how inclusion started on one elementary campus:

Jennifer Spencer-Iiams on Leading for All: How to Create Truly Inclusive and Excellent Schools.

The Think Inclusive Podcast is 30 minutes.


Visit Learning for Justice’s website to test your hidden bias. Examining one’s possible biases is an important

step in understanding the roots of stereotypes and prejudice in our society.

But the big question do we get there? How do we create school campuses where all children feel valued as they are and a vital part of the social fabric of their communities?

By creating compassionate classrooms. Inclusion asks that we and our students understand our personal feelings towards differences and consciously create a container where those differences are supported, common ground is sought, and multiple perspectives are honored.

Sounds like a big task, so let’s ask a simpler question: What can I do in my classroom on Monday?

Start small. One lesson plan on empathy, one motivator to encourage compassion, one activator to inspire adults and kids to walk the talk. The resources listed below will hopefully serve with inspiration and tools so that we can weave our unique students together to create a vibrant, beautiful, and inclusive tapestry that honors all diversity.

Taking Time for Reflection

Guiding Questions for Educators

Below you will find some of the guiding questions posed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) in the pursuit of promoting equity through SEL. Reflecting on these questions can help bring better self-awareness towards how we, as educators, support inclusion in our classrooms and school communities.

  • What are the social dynamics among students from different backgrounds in your classes?
  • Do you see differences as deficits or assets to be leveraged?
  • How can what and how you teach better position your students to address their concerns and interests?
  • How do you make sure that students help/support each other to grow and learning in positive ways?
  • Do you make every effort to get to know your students and their community?
  • Do you invite students to get to know you?
  • How do you ensure that you create an inclusive, safe learning environment for all of your students?
  • What educational opportunities can you provide that help diverse learners realize their fullest potential?
  • How can you help students to become informed and engaged citizens?
  • In what ways can you address power relationships that discourage engagement in academic,social, and emotional learning?
  • How can you create opportunities for the range of perspectives and talents in your classroom to be appreciated/leveraged to improve learning for all?
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