Improving the Social and Emotional Climate of Classrooms: A Clustered Randomized Controlled Trial Testing the RULER Approach
- First Online:
- 1.8k Downloads
The RULER Approach (“RULER”) is a setting-level, social and emotional learning program that is grounded in theory and evidence. RULER is designed to modify the quality of classroom social interactions so that the climate becomes more supportive, empowering, and engaging. This is accomplished by integrating skill-building lessons and tools so that teachers and students develop their emotional literacy. In a clustered randomized control trial, we tested the hypothesis that RULER improves the social and emotional climate of classrooms. Depending upon condition assignment, 62 schools either integrated RULER into fifth- and sixth-grade English language arts (ELA) classrooms or served as comparison schools, using their standard ELA curriculum only. Multi-level modeling analyses showed that compared to classrooms in comparison schools, classrooms in RULER schools were rated as having higher degrees of warmth and connectedness between teachers and students, more autonomy and leadership among students, and teachers who focused more on students’ interests and motivations. These findings suggest that RULER enhances classrooms in ways that can promote positive youth development.
KeywordsEmotional literacy Social and emotional learning Positive youth development The RULER Approach
- Bloom, H. S. (Ed.). (2005). Learning more from social experiments: Evolving analytic approaches. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
- Bloom, H. S., & Michalopoulos, C. (2011). When is the story in the subgroups? Prevention Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s11121-010-0198-x.
- Brackett, M. A., Patti, J., Stern, R., Rivers, S. E., Elbertson, N. A., Chisholm, C., & Salovey, P. (2009). A sustainable, skill-based approach to building emotionally literate schools. In D. Thompson, M. Hughes, & J. Terrell (Eds.), The handbook of developing emotional and social intelligence: Best practices, case studies, & tools (pp. 329–358). New York: Pfeiffer.Google Scholar
- Brackett, M. A., Rivers, S. E., Reyes, M. R., & Salovey, P. (2010). Enhancing academic performance and social and emotional competence with the RULER Feeling Words Curriculum. Learning and Individual Differences. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2010.10.002.
- Brackett, M. A., Reyes, M. R., Rivers, S. E., Elbertson, N. A., & Salovey, P. (2011). Classroom emotional climate, teacher affiliation, and student conduct. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 46, 27–36.Google Scholar
- Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- CASEL [Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning]. (2003). Safe and sound: An educational leader’s guide to evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programs. Chicago, IL: Author.Google Scholar
- Catalano, R. F., Berglund, L., Ryan, J. A. M., Lonczek, H. S., & Hawkins, J. D. (2004). Positive youth development in the United States: Research findings on evaluations of positive youth development programs. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 591, 98–124. doi:10.1177/0002716203260102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cook, E. T., Greenberg, M. T., & Kusche, C. A. (1995). People in my life survey: Attachment relationships in middle childhood. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Indianapolis, IN.Google Scholar
- Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
- Developmental Studies Center. (2000). Student Questionnaire, Child Development Project (Elementary School Version). Department. Oakland, CA. Retrieved from www.devstu.org.
- Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82, 405–432. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01564.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Eccles, J. S., Midgley, C., Wigfield, A., Buchanan, C. M., Reuman, D., Flanagan, C., & Mac Iver, D. (1993). Development during adolescence: The impact of stage-environment fit on young adolescents’ experiences in schools and in families. American Psychologist, 48, 90–101. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.48.2.90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fine, S. E., Izard, C. E., Mostow, A. J., Trentacosta, C. J., & Ackerman, B. P. (2003). First grade emotion knowledge as a predictor of fifth grade self-reported internalizing behaviors in children from economically disadvantaged families. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 331–342. doi:10.1017/S095457940300018X.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Greenberg, M. T., Weissberg, R. P., O’Brien, M. U., Zins, J. E., Fredericks, L., Resnik, H., & Elias, M. J. (2003). Enhancing school-based prevention and youth development through coordinated social, emotional, and academic learning. American Psychologist, 58, 466–474. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.58.6-7.466.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hamre, B. K., & Pianta, R. C. (2007). Learning opportunities in preschool and early elementary classrooms. In R. C. Pianta, M. J. Cox, & K. L. Snow (Eds.), School readiness & the transition to kindergarten in the era of accountability (pp. 49–83). Baltimore, MD: Brooks Publishing Co.Google Scholar
- Hamre, B. K., Mashburn, A. J., Pianta, R. C., Locasle-Crouch, J., & La Paro, K. M. (2006). CLASS: Classroom Assessment Scoring System, Technical Appendix. Department. Retrieved from http://www.classobservation.com/research/class_tech_manual.pdf.
- Institute of Medicine. (1994). Reducing risks for mental disorders: Frontiers for preventive intervention research. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
- Maurer, M., & Brackett, M. A. (2004). Emotional Literacy in the Middle School: A 6-step program to promote social, emotional, & academic learning. Port Chester, NY: National Professional Resources.Google Scholar
- Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (1997). What is emotional intelligence? In P. Salovey & D. J. Sluyter (Eds.), Emotional development and emotional intelligence: Educational implications (pp. 3–34). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Moos, R. H. (1979). Evaluating educational environments. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- National Research Council & Institute of Medicine [NRC/IOM]. (2002). Community programs to promote youth development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
- Pianta, R. C., La Paro, K., & Hamre, B. (2008). Classroom assessment scoring system: K-3. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.Google Scholar
- Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Raver, C. C., Jones, S. M., Li-Grining, C. P., Metzger, M., Champon, K. M., & Sardin, L. (2008). Improving preschool classroom processes: Preliminary findings from a randomized trial implemented in Head Start settings. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23, 10–26. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2007.09.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Reyes, M. R., Brackett, M. A., Rivers, S. E., White, M., & Salovey, P. (2012). The emotional climate of learning: Links to academic achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/a0027268
- Rivers, S. E., Brackett, M. A., Reyes, M. R., Mayer, J. D., Caruso, D. R., & Salovey, P. (2012). Measuring emotional intelligence in early adolescence with the MSCEIT‐YV: Psychometric properties and relationship with academic performance and psychosocial functioning. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 30(4), 344–366. doi:10.1177/0734282912449443.Google Scholar
- Schafer, J. L. (2000). NORM Version 2.03 [Computer software]. Retrieved June 27, 2008 from http://www.stat.psu.edu/~jls/misoftwa.html.
- Schutz, P. A., & Pekrun, R. (Eds.). (2007). Emotion in education. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
- Shinn, M., & Yoshikawa, H. (Eds.). (2008). Toward positive youth development: Transforming schools and community programs (pp. 3–17). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar