Masters Thesis

Social and emotional learning teaching practices in kindergarten to third grade

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) encompasses the skills, attitudes, and values that enable children to navigate through the intrapersonal and interpersonal realms of their lives. Research has shown that developing appropriate SEL skills is essential for children to be successful academically. This study examines the teaching practices of K-3rd grade teachers to promote the positive development of SEL of students. Twenty-four teachers completed a survey that identified the extent to which they understood the concepts of SEL as it is defined in the literature, as well as the degree to which they report engaging in recognized practices that foster SEL skills in their classrooms. Results suggest that while K-3rd grade teachers endorse the importance of SEL for school success, they scored relatively low on a measure of concept knowledge. Findings suggest that the teachers who received pre-service training on SEL were significantly more likely to report using strategies in their classrooms consistent with SEL best practices than others with or without in-service trainings. Results from this study have potential implications for Pre-service teacher-training programs regarding the importance of providing effective and systematic SEL instruction for teacher-candidates.