Resources from CASEL SEL Exchange 2023 Conference

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Best Practices for Healing-Centered Engagement


Define terms

  • Explore, co-create rather than make assumptions.
  • Give participants space to share their experience and beliefs around specific terms.


Understand your own positionality, identify your own culture, beliefs, values to increase your awareness of how you shape the space from your particular lens.

  • Challenge the idea of universal.
  • Be aware of who you are in space and show up as your authentic self.


Dig deeper than multicultural education, to design an environment that mirrors the youth’s learning experience and process in their home and community. Communicate that culture is more about how information/emotions are processed.

  • Do research beforehand on the communities the youth you are working with are coming from.
  • Make an activity/game of naming the cultural practices/assumptions in the space so that they are visible and can be modified/challenged if needed.
  • Emphasizing/Naming that culture isn’t just ethnic + racial.
  • Honor youth’s agency and their contributions as independent beings.


See youth as a whole being who have experiences outside of the classroom setting (in their homes and communities) that they may not be able to leave at the door when they walk in.

  • Break down power dynamics and see youth as partners in their growth and learning environment.


Be aware of the timbre and tone of your voice when you speak with youth.

  • Does it change? Why is that? The timbre and tone of your voice should be the same as when you speak with a colleague/friend.


Amal Aziz

Amal Aziz, Engagement Director
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