Graduation Date

5-2018

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell, Ph.D.

First Reader

Jennifer Lucko, Ph.D.

Second Reader

Suresh Appavoo, Ed.D.

Abstract

The research in this study aims to understand the experiences of teachers as they implement a social emotional learning curriculum called, The Responsive Classroom (RC) Approach, for the first time. Further, this research inquires about the ways in which schools can best support teachers during the initial implementation phase. This qualitative study used focused interviews, surveys, and field observations to gain the perspectives of various RC teachers. Using a humanistic research approach, each focused interview was designed to encourage a safe sharing of emotions and knowledge through the use of open-ended questions. Data collected from the interviews, in conjunction with surveys and on-site observations were used to understand the experiences of teachers. From the data collected from all sources, findings indicated that although teachers felt sufficiently trained in Responsive Classroom following training, there were multiple factors that contributed to their inability to adhere to the curriculum entirely. Some of the factors identified by teachers were: the felt there was a shortage of time to collaborate with other RC teachers to share ideas; feeling overwhelmed from the implementation of multiple new curricula simultaneously; and not having enough time in each class period to incorporate all RC practices. These factors caused teachers to neglect certain elements of the RC approach, which must be adhered to in order to glean the benefits Responsive Classroom Approach has to offer. Schools adopting this curriculum should provide teachers with allocated collaboration opportunities; allow teachers to focus on RC in isolation without the implementation of other new curriculums; and assure teachers have a sufficient amount of classroom time to implement each component of RC.

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