Empowering Teachers: Multicultural Social and Emotional Learning (MSEL) Among Arab Minority Teachers

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multiculturalism, social and emotional learning (SEL), self-efficacy, cultural empathy, COVID-19 pandemic


Teachers are the professionals at the forefront in the implementation of the educational enterprise, yet it is widely known that despite being surrounded by learners, they are oftentimes isolated and lonely individuals.  The plight of teachers, particularly ones who are minorities, is critical to the success of schooling. To address this problem, schools have been seeking to pay closer attention to the holistic characteristics of schooling in general and how to ameliorate teacher conditions in particular. In recent years, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened concern for the overall well-being of teachers, for enhancing their ability to cope with stress, depression, and loneliness, and for empowering resilience. In this sense, social and emotional learning (SEL) can serve as a main component in addressing these issues. SEL of teachers plays a central role in their daily practices and functioning. This study was devised and aimed at investigating the role of SEL as it impinges on teachers using a quantitative research study. The major hypothesis of this research involving SEL is that cultural empathy is the key linking mediator between both social competence and emotional stability of teachers and their self-efficacy for learning. To verify these interactions, questionnaires were distributed and completed by 415 teachers from the Arab Muslim sector, a minority population in Israel potentially vulnerable to the above-mentioned alienating effects of teaching. Our results did show a significant interaction between social competence and cultural empathy on self-efficacy for learning.  Additionally, our results also detected a significant interaction between emotional stability and cultural empathy on self-efficacy for learning. This research supports the proof of concept that the potential of SEL to foster increased achievement and equity in multicultural schools may be fulfilled provided that there is a greater effort to integrate the ideals of SEL into school practices. Finally, we discuss the importance of promoting emotional stability, social competence, and cultural empathy in schools by fostering social inclusion.


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Author Biographies

Shira Soffer-Vital, Ono Academic College

Dr. Shira Soffer-Vital is currently a researcher and lecturer at Ono Academic College and also is an academic manager of the master’s degree program in education. She received her Ph.D. in Education from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and completed her postdoctoral research at the I-CORE program (The Israeli Centers of Research Excellence) in education. Her research is concerned with social-emotional learning, especially in multicultural environments, and learning, teaching, and evaluation processes in technology-enhanced communities.

Idit Finkelstein

Dr. Idit Finkelstein, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education and Chair of the Teaching Committee of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ono Academic College. She holds a doctorate in educational counseling from Bar-Ilan University and a bachelor's degree in law. Her area of expertise is education and regulation in the technological era. Her research focuses on multicultural social-emotional learning; and on the development of multicultural academic teaching, learning, and assessment.


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How to Cite

Soffer-Vital, S., & Finkelstein, I. (2024). Empowering Teachers: Multicultural Social and Emotional Learning (MSEL) Among Arab Minority Teachers. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 11(1), 39–57. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/1638



Original Manuscript
Received 2023-03-31
Accepted 2023-12-23
Published 2024-01-25