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Teachers are the primary implementers of social and emotional learning (SEL) programs. Their beliefs about SEL likely influence program delivery, evaluation, and outcomes. A simple tool for measuring these beliefs could be used by school administrators to determine school readiness for SEL programming and by researchers to better understand teacher variables that impact implementation fidelity and program outcomes. In a two-phase study, we developed and then validated a parsimonious measure of teachers' beliefs about SEL. In Phase 1, survey items were administered to 935 teachers and subjected to both exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, resulting in three reliable scales pertaining to teachers' "comfort" with teaching SEL, "commitment" to learning about SEL, and perceptions about whether their school "culture" supports SEL. Phase 2 provided evidence for the concurrent and predictive validity of the scales with a subsample of teachers implementing an SEL program as part of a randomized controlled trial. The discussion focuses on the value of measuring teachers' beliefs about SEL from both researcher and practitioner perspectives. (Contains 1 note, 3 tables, and 1 figure.)

Some individuals have a greater capacity than others to carry out sophisticated information processing about emotions and emotion-relevant stimuli and to use this information as a guide to thinking and behavior. The authors have termed this set of abilities emotional intelligence (EI). Since the introduction of the concept, however, a schism has developed in which some researchers focus on EI as a distinct group of mental abilities, and other researchers instead study an eclectic mix of positive traits such as happiness, self-esteem, and optimism. Clarifying what EI is and is not can help the field by better distinguishing research that is truly pertinent to EI from research that is not. EI--conceptualized as an ability--is an important variable both conceptually and empirically, and it shows incremental validity for predicting socially relevant outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

A pre- and post-test quasi-experimental design was used to test the impact of a 30-week, theoretically-based social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum, The RULER Feeling Words Curriculum ("RULER"), on the academic performance and social and emotional competence of 5th and 6th grade students (N = 273) in fifteen classrooms in three schools. Academic performance was assessed by report card grades. Social and emotional competence was assessed with teacher reports of student behavior. Students in classrooms integrating RULER had higher year-end grades and higher teacher ratings of social and emotional competence (e.g., leadership, social skills, and study skills) compared to students in the comparison group. This study provides preliminary empirical evidence that SEL programs like RULER improve important student outcomes. (Contains 4 tables.)

This study examined how training, dosage, and implementation quality of a social and emotional learning program, The RULER Approach, were related to students' social and emotional competencies. There were no main effects for any of the variables on student outcomes, but students had more positive outcomes when their teachers (a) attended more trainings and taught more lessons, and (b) were classified as either moderate- or high-quality program implementers. Student outcomes were more negative when their teachers were classified as low-quality implementers who also attended more trainings and taught more lessons. Post hoc analyses revealed that low-quality implementers felt less efficacious about their overall teaching than high-quality implementers. The discussion focuses on the importance of assessing the interaction of training and implementation variables when examining the effect of social and emotional learning programs. (Contains 3 tables.)