Academic Gains from a Program Teaching Social-Emotional Skills

 

From the Marshall Memo #453

In this Education Week article, Jaclyn Zubrzycki reports on a three-year study of Responsive Classroom, a social-emotional skills program. Upper-elementary students whose teachers used the program with fidelity did significantly better on standardized math and reading tests than students who did not have the program. Responsive Classroom works to improve how students manage their emotions and interactions with others, largely through teachers’ language and modeling of expectations. 

Sara Rimm-Kaufman, the lead author of the study, believes that one of the key factors leading to improved academic performance is that students are encouraged to pick among different activities to accomplish the same learning goals. Schools that implemented the program with fidelity had strong leadership from the principal and faculty buy-in, compared to reluctant implementation in schools without strong leadership, where teachers said the program was one of many being “thrown at them.” 

“A lot of people believe that we just don’t have time for social skills,” says Steven Elliott of Arizona State University/Tempe, “and yet the data continue to show it’s a great investment.” 

“Researchers Link ‘Responsive’ Classes to Learning Gains” by Jaclyn Zubrzycki in Education Week, Sept. 19, 2012 (Vol. 32, #4, p. 8), www.edweek.org; the study is “Efficacy of Responsive Classroom Approach: Results from a Three Year, Longitudinal Randomized Control Trial” by Sara Rimm-Kaufman et al., http://bit.ly/SoxbWT 

 

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