If you’ve been following this blog for a little while, you may already be aware that Elena Aguilar is one of my personal education heroes. One of reasons I have such tremendous respect for her as a person and for the amazing work that she does is her capacity to help us all see what is needed, where it is missing and how we can go about acting on those insights. In a recent post on Edutopia she makes a strong case for insuring social emotional learning (SEL) for all members of a school community in order for the whole enterprise to have a shot at meaningful success.
Elena Aguilar’s mission is school transformation, not just school improvement or reform. All schools are awash in change initiatives on various levels of scale and areas of emphasis. The capacity of all community stakeholders to meet these challenges is dramatically enhanced when we pay close attention to the emotional experiences of those involved and address the fears, hopes, ambitions and concerns head on. In advocating for this approach, Elena Aguilar understands that transformation works first with what is, in order to reach the best parts of what’s possible. Activist and Fund-raiser, Lynne Twist quotes Werner Erhard in her book, The Soul of Money</em>: “Transformation does not negate what has gone before; rather, it fulfills it.” (p. 252) Our emotions are always a part of what is. Let us claim them and put them to work towards our collective progress and benefit.