Graduation Date

5-2013

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell, Ph.D.

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, Ed.D.

Abstract

When students are able to cope with, manage and maneuver the social and emotional landscapes of their lives, their ability to learn on all levels improves. Teaching Social / Emotional Learning (SEL), as a component of secondary education, not only increases academic performance, but prepares students to meet the challenges of lifelong learning in a changing global society. Currently, students are so busy passing tests that measure their capacity for logical, analytical and objective reasoning, it leaves little time for developing self-awareness, social awareness, and the ability to cope with ambiguous situations, to adapt, to learn how to learn and to manage stress. The purpose of this study is to determine how best to integrate social emotional learning into secondary curriculum to improve the overall learning environment. A literature review of established SEL programs consistently points to overall improvement in student behavior and learning. In addition, daily mindfulness sessions - a common component of SEL - incorporated into secondary education, consistently results in the decrease of violence and truancy rates while improving student relations, focus and academic performance. Based on these findings, the addition of SEL standards into secondary education and teacher credential programs is recommended.

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