Looking for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Research?

CASEL provides a fabulous overview of the benefits of SEL with links to some of the studies behind the evidence.

Below is a collection of some of the finding we think are particularly significant.

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Well-being for Schoolteachers
Wellbeing Research Centre

A seminal new report by the Wellbeing Research Centre at the University of Oxford highlights the critical importance of teacher wellbeing for teachers themselves, students and school systems. Based on an extensive literature review, the researchers developed a framework that identifies drivers of teacher wellbeing, which can spark meaningful discussions within your school context.

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Promoting Social-Emotional Learning Development Through Preventing and Resolving Conflict
Virtual Lab School

Telling a child to stop a certain behavior or to calm down will not likely result in any long-term behavior changes because the adult is still managing the child’s behavior. It is much more effective to model and teach social and emotional skills to help children deal with their feelings, problems, and interactions with others. This, in turn, will lead to a richer and more fulfilling experience. This lesson will describe the strategies that will help children learn these important social-emotional skills. This lesson will also describe ways to help staff prevent conflicts and how staff should respond when problems arise.

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From Reaction to Prevention Turning the Page on School Discipline
American Educator

In this article, the authors trace the course of school discipline over the past 20 years and examine the status of school discipline reform today. They begin with an examination of zero-tolerance, suspension, and expulsion policies, as well as their assumptions and effects. They discuss alternatives that have been proposed and the guidance that has been offered by the federal government, and examine state changes that may be models for others. Finally, for any new model to be effective, support of teachers and administrators is essential; thus, the authors consider what educators really need if they are to successfully reform school discipline.

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The state of evidence for social and emotional learning: A contemporary meta-analysis of universal school-based SEL interventions
Child Development

A Comprehensive review and analysis of universal school-based social and emotional learning (SEL) interventions. The findings reveal that students who participated in these interventions exhibited substantial improvements in various aspects, including skills, attitudes, behaviors, school climate, peer relationships, school functioning, and academic achievement when compared to control groups. The study also highlights the importance of considering differences in SEL content, intervention features, context, and implementation quality when assessing student outcomes and offers insights for future research, policy, and practice in this area.

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How School Discipline Impacts Students’ Social, Emotional and Academic Development (SEAD)
The Education Trust

The paper discusses the significant impact of school discipline policies on students' social, emotional, and academic development, emphasizing the adverse consequences of harmful practices and their disproportionate application to underserved students. It calls for federal and state-level reforms to promote evidence-based, equitable, and inclusive discipline policies and encourages district leaders to adopt a race equity lens when implementing these policies at the local level.

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SEL for Teachers: A Win for Both Educators and Students

More educators are considering leaving the profession. School districts can support them through social-emotional learning.

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Research finds social and emotional learning produces significant benefits for students
Yale School of Medicine

In the midst of an unprecedented mental health crisis plaguing our nation’s youth, a study led by Christina Cipriano, PhD, assistant professor in Yale Child Study Center, and Michael Strambler, associate professor of psychiatry, substantiates the evidence of social and emotional learning (SEL) in supporting student flourishing in school and life.

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New Polling Data Show Overwhelming Support for Social-Emotional Learning Among Parents
Center for Children

Benenson Strategy Group conducted online interviews with 1200 parents of school aged children from April 15-23, 2022. Key findings were 1. Parents largely take the term “SEL” at face value and there aren’t negative top of mind associations with it. 2. There is strong and widespread support for teaching SEL- both among the 54% who say it’s already taught at their school and those who say it isn’t or are unsure. 3. Parents prioritize a range of skills that SEL support 4. And see how teaching SEL creates a positive classroom environment where kids learn the skills they need to succeed. 5. In head to head argumentations, parents overwhelmingly say schools have a role in teaching kid social and emotional skills and reject the idea that SEL is somehow taking the place of mental wellness supports like therapists and social workers.

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Reappraising academic and social adversity improves middle school students’ academic achievement, behavior and well-being.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

Without social and emotional support, adolescent students who have recently made the difficult transition to middle school experience decreased social belonging, waning academic performance, and increased risk of dropping out. This randomized field trial, conducted at scale across a Midwestern school district, reveals how a psychologically precise intervention for students supported transitioning sixth graders. Intervention materials taught students that middle school adversity is common, short-lived, and due to external, temporary causes rather than personal inadequacies. As a result, students realized improved social and psychological well-being, fewer absences and disciplinary infractions, and higher grade point averages. Implemented at scale, this intervention holds potential to help to address the widespread academic underperformance by the nation’s transitioning middle school students.

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The Science of Belonging and Connection

A lack of belonging is tied to a host of negative outcomes in students, from poor grades to more frequent disciplinary infractions. In this article, Stanford psychologist Geoffrey Cohen shares research backed strategies educators can deploy to build belonging and connection in class.

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Teacher wellbeing and turnover intentions: Investigating the roles of job resources and job demands.
British Journal of Educational Psychology

This study examined the role of three job resources (autonomy-supportive leadership, relatedness with colleagues and students) and three job demands (autonomy-thwarting leadership, time pressure, disruptive student behaviour) in relation to teacher wellbeing and turnover intentions. The job resources were generally positively associated with the well-being factors, whereas time pressure was negatively associated with vitality, but positively associated with behavioural engagement. In addition, relatedness with colleagues and subjective vitality were negatively associated with turnover intentions, whereas the reverse was true for autonomy-thwarting leadership and time pressure. There were no interaction terms retained in the final model.

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Parental mental health and children’s adjustment: the quality of marital interaction and parenting as mediating factors.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

Parental and Peer Relationships: The quality of relationships with parents and peers plays a significant role in boys' mental health. Supportive relationships can act as protective factors against the development of mental health issues.

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Supporting Parent and Family Engagement to Enhance Students’ Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

This paper explores how states and districts can utilize the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to enhance family engagement in promoting students' academic, social, and emotional learning. It provides key recommendations, emphasizing the importance of evidence-based parent and family engagement, coupled with social and emotional learning, to positively impact academic performance and overall well-being. The integration of these strategies with ESSA requirements presents a significant opportunity for states and districts to influence student outcomes, particularly in the context of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Families Are Students’ First SEL Teachers.

There are four fundamental steps which can strengthen the relationship between families and schools: cultivate trusting relationships between educators and families, build the confidence and skills of both staff and caregivers, reposition families’ roles from spectators to collaborators, and involve families in interpreting data and posing solutions. These steps are crucial to building a supportive social and emotional learning environment for students. There are four fundamental steps which can strengthen the relationship between families and schools: cultivate trusting relationships between educators and families, build the confidence and skills of both staff and caregivers, reposition families’ roles from spectators to collaborators, and involve families in interpreting data and posing solutions. These steps are crucial to building a supportive social and emotional learning environment for students.

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Social and Emotional Supports for Educators During and After the Pandemic
The Center for American Progress

The pandemic has led to a lot of educators feeling overwhelmed and disstressed. Research shows that teachers with SEL training improves their ability to teach. Research shows that it is quite diffcult for teachers to get access to SEL training. SEL training for educators should occur both before and during their teaching career. Teachers who willingly learn SEL, carry that positively to their student.

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The Success of Social-Emotional Learning Hinges on Teachers
Education Week

Schools are recognizing the lack of SEL training. Therefore, SEL training has began to be integrated within school districts. This directly corelates with the use of SEL coaches to train both teachers and princiapls. There is an overall improvement/growth with student learning and builiding a stronger school community.

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Advisory Workshop

Two-day workshop focusing on how to create and sustain a robust advisory program in middle & high schools that centers belonging and equity.

March 11, 2024
Middle School & High School
Foundational SEL for K-6 Educators

Practical workshop is a great place to begin or deepen SEL in your classroom and school.

March 27, 2024
Restorative Practices Workshop

Two-day workshop offers K-12 educators, administrators, and counselors a comprehensive model of proactive and responsive approaches for Peace Building and Conflict Resolution.

April 16, 2024
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