EL Advocacy Case Study #2: Social Emotional Learning and ELs During COVID-19

This case study is the second of three that will focus on advocating for English learners (ELs) during the Covid-19 pandemic. We developed this case study based on conversations we have had with teachers of ELs as well as research and best practices we read about.

A hint of SEL pre-pandemic

Prior to emergency school closures and the continuing instructional shifts brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, many school districts around the country had already begun to incorporate programs or practices aimed at supporting students’ social-emotional learning (SEL). Walking the halls of an elementary school, you might have heard students practicing breathing techniques, engaging in role plays dealing with difficult social situations, or taking part in lessons where they learned how to name and identify their feelings. At the secondary level, you might have seen students working collaboratively on projects in the classroom or seen posters in the hallways seeking members for the Kindness Club.

As the uncertainty around the pandemic fist unfurled in March 2020, opportunities for teachers, students, and families to interact in person ground to a halt. Many teachers found it challenging to check in with students and gauge their social-emotional status and readiness to learn.

What to expect inside the case study

In this case study, we first present a definition and framework for social-emotional learning. Next, we focus on possible advocacy issues related to SEL for ELs and share a case study that serves as an example of how teachers can advocate for ELs. We apply a five-step EL advocacy framework as a guide for steps that you can take in your own advocacy work. Finally, we conclude with some closing thoughts.

About SupportEd

SupportEd, LLC is a woman-owned small business based in Fairfax, VA specializing in Multilingual Learners (MLs). Founded in 2011 by Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner, best-selling author and ML expert, SupportEd meticulously crafts customized solutions to fit each client’s strengths, needs, and provides teachers and administrators the practical tools necessary to champion MLs’ success within and beyond the classroom. All SupportEd team members have prior experience in the classroom which enables the SupportEd team to provide realistic, actionable solutions. Services include online and in-person immersive professional development workshops, easy-to-implement tools and resources, and an array of supporting services. Visit or call (202) 660-1444 to learn more.