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Social Emotional Learning for Multilingual Learners

Social Emotional Learning for Multilingual Learners
Essential Actions for Success

Foreword by Margarita Calderón

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April 2024 | 288 pages | Corwin

Foster multilingual learners’ academic success, wellbeing, agency, and belonging

Though multilingual learners (MLs) comprise nearly 25% of the school-age population, the most widely-used social emotional learning (SEL) frameworks and programs lack an intentional focus on these students’ unique strengths and challenges. To foster MLs’ academic success and wellbeing, educators must consider students’ cultures, languages, assets, expectations, norms, and life experiences when integrating SEL practices.

In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner and Mindi Teich break down how each of the five competencies in the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) SEL framework can be implemented with ML success in mind. Staehr Fenner and Teich’s practical and engaging guide provides SEL considerations that are unique to MLs, relevant research, easy-to-implement educator actions, and tools to seamlessly integrate SEL practices into content and language instruction. Additional features include:

  • Tools and practical strategies educators can apply immediately
  • Programmatic and systemic considerations that impact SEL for MLs
  • Examples of successful SEL strategies for MLs currently being used in classrooms
  • Ample opportunities for reflection and application in each chapter
  • Templates to prioritize and integrate SEL for MLs into teaching practices

MLs thrive when they are validated and supported to achieve their goals, empathize with others, build relationships, and make responsible decisions. The essential actions presented in this guide will enable you–regardless of your role or prior experience with SEL–to empower MLs to achieve academic and lifelong success.

Foreword by Margarita Calderón
About the Authors
Who Should Read This Book
Chapter Overview
Chapter 1: Why SEL for MLs Matters
Chapter 2: The SEL Framework for MLs
Chapter 3: Fostering MLs’ Access to Self-Awareness
Chapter 4: Fostering MLs’ Access to Self-Management
Chapter 5: Foster MLs’ Access to Social Awareness
Chapter 6: Fostering MLs’ Access to Relationship Skills
Chapter 7: Fostering MLs’ Access to Responsible Decision-Making
Chapter 8: Taking the Next Steps to Implement SEL with MLs


"Diane Staehr Fenner and Mindi Teich combined their decades of field-experiences and produced a much-needed new resource. They not only make an indisputable claim that Social Emotional Learning for Multilingual Learners is an essential component of these students’ education, but they also offer a well-constructed framework and concrete, actionable recommendations. A must-have for today’s complex classrooms!"

Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld, Author/Consultant, Professor of TESOL Teacher Education
Molloy University

"This book provides a much-needed comprehensive and holistic 'deep dive' into the multi-layered topic of social and emotional learning with multilingual learners at the forefront. The authors provide numerous hands-on tools and reflection questions to help schools ensure that their SEL efforts and priorities are equitable, inclusive, culturally and linguistically responsive, trauma-informed, and focused on the well-being of all students within the school community."

Lydia Breiseth, Director
Colorín Colorado

"Social Emotional Learning for Multilingual Learners: Essential Actions for Success could not come at a better time as more and more migrants and asylum seekers are entering our schools. Our emergent multilingual learners face unique challenges when acquiring a new language in a culturally different environment. The strategies in this book will provide them with the necessary tools and skills to effectively navigate those challenges and thrive."

Ron Woo, Executive Director
NYS Statewide Language RBERN (Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network

"Over the years, when creating professional learning for teachers, I have often referred back to books by Diane Staehr Fenner. Her ability to take research and make it useful for practitioners is impressive. In Social Emotional Learning for Multilingual Learners: Essential Actions for Success by Diane Staehr Fenner and Mindi Teich, she does it again. Both authors bring current understanding of issues around social emotional learning to the  forefront. How can we teach a student that isn't in a state of mind to learn? This book helps you go beyond just understanding and empathy. It helps teachers and school staff thoroughly understand how to help multilingual learners reach their fullest potential."

Sam Klein, Supervisor
Office of English Learners, Arlington Public Schools

"Diane Staehr Fenner and Mindi Teich are steadfast advocates for multilingual learners—especially when it comes to supporting their social-emotional well-being. They provide practical tools for building and strengthening multilingual learners’ self-awareness, self-management, awareness of others, relational skills, and responsive decision-making. Whether you're a new or experienced educator, administrator, coach, or counselor, their valuable contribution is a crucial resource."

Debbie Zacarian, Founding Director
Zacarian and Associates

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