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IES Grant

Title: Improving Classroom Learning Environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE)
Center: NCER Year: 2009
Principal Investigator: Jennings, Patricia Awardee: Pennsylvania State University
Program: Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years Award Amount: $932,424
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A090179

Co-Principal Investigator: Mark Greenberg

Purpose: Teachers must provide their students with effective instruction in academic content while simultaneously dealing with the emotions, behaviors, and social exchanges of their students through effective classroom management practices. These types of challenges in the classroom can lead to dissatisfaction and teacher burnout and, in some instances, subsequent departure from the teaching profession. Teachers' social-emotional competence—broadly defined here as consisting of self-awareness, social awareness, responsible decision making, self-management, and relationship management—is an important factor in teachers' ability to manage the challenges and stressors of the classroom. The need to promote and support teachers' social-emotional competence is critical, not just for the teachers experiencing stress and burnout, but also for their students who are affected in myriad important ways by their teacher's ability to deliver effective instruction and simultaneously manage behavior in the classroom. In this study, the researcher team will complete the development of the Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) professional development program which is designed to enhance teachers' capacity to provide a supportive and engaging social and emotional context for academic learning. The teacher professional development focuses on teachers' social and emotional awareness, self-regulation skills, and prosocial responding to enhance teachers' well-being, reduce their stress, and improve the learning environment for students by supporting teachers' ability to provide effective emotional, behavioral, and instructional support to their students.

Project Activities: The researchers will test the current form of the CARE model in three iterations to determine its feasibility and attractiveness to teachers. Modifications will be made as necessary and a final version of the CARE model will be implemented and pilot tested in the second year of the project to determine if the intervention shows promise for improving teachers' social-emotional competence and effectiveness in the classroom.

Products: The products of this project will be a fully developed professional development model targeting teachers' social-emotional competence, Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE), including an intervention manual and supporting materials, and published reports.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in an urban school district and a rural/suburban school district in central Pennsylvania.

Population: Participants in the study are 120 teachers of kindergarten through fifth grade.

Intervention: The Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) professional development model in its current form consists of monthly 2-day sessions of professional development focused on social-emotional awareness, and 30 to 60 minutes of distal coaching sessions per week. This model is based upon the Prosocial Classroom mediational model that conceptualizes teachers' well-being and social-emotional competence as fostering supportive teacher-student relationships, effective classroom management skills, and instructional support, leading to a healthy and prosocial classroom environment and positive social, emotional, and academic outcomes for students.

Research Design and Methods: The development project will take place in two phases. In Phase I, three successive iterations of the intervention will be piloted, evaluated, and refined over the course of one school year as an in-service training/professional development opportunity for two groups of 15 K–5 teachers in each iteration. In Phase II, the final version of CARE will be field tested with two groups of 15 K–5 teachers. At the end of the 2-year project a final intervention manual and materials, as well as measures of program fidelity and quality, will be created in preparation for an efficacy trial of CARE.

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: A variety of process measures and observational and self-report measures will be used in Phase I to assess feasibility and the promise of the intervention for improving proximal teacher outcomes, including the PANAS Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, the BDI Beck Depression Inventory, the MAAS Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale, the MBI Maslach Burnout Inventory (Educators' Survey), the Problems in Schools Questionnaire, the TSES Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale, and the Stressful Occurrences and Support Questionnaire. In Phase II, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) will be used to assess classrooms pre- and post-intervention.

Data Analytic Strategy: Qualitative process evaluation data will be analyzed using interim analysis. Interview and focus group data will be transcribed, segmented, and coded using a priori and inductive codes. Data will be organized and summarized using a hierarchical and networked category system to explore teachers' impressions of program effectiveness. Quantitative data will be analyzed using mixed-effects models with repeated measures (pre- and post-intervention) to determine changes in psychological variables. Regression (partial correlation) analyses will be performed to validate the Prosocial Classroom mediational model. Paired t-tests will be used to examine change over time in the relevant constructs. Exploratory "dose-response" multiple regression analyses will be done to relate attendance at training sessions with amount of independent practice to the proximal outcomes. Finally, teachers' perceptions of the effectiveness of CARE will be correlated with outcomes.

Related IES Projects: Improving Classroom Learning Environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): A Cluster Randomized Controlled Efficacy Trial (R305A120180)


Book chapter

Jennings, P.A., and DeMauro, A.A. (2017). Individual-Level Interventions: Mindfulness-Based Approaches to Reducing Stress and Improving Performance Among Teachers. In T. McIntyre, S. McIntyre, and D. Francis, Educator Stress: Aligning Perspectives on Health, Safety and Well-Being (pp. 319–346). Springer, Cham.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Jennings, P.A., Frank, J.L., Snowberg, K.E., Coccia, M A., and Greenberg, M.T. (2013). Improving Classroom Learning Environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. School Psychology Quarterly, 28(4): 374–390.

Jennings, P.A., Snowberg, K.E., Coccia, M.A., and Greenberg, M.T. (2011). Improving Classroom Learning Environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): Results of Two Pilot Studies. Journal of Classroom Interactions, 46(1): 37–48.

Schussler, D.L., Jennings, P.A., Sharp, J.E., and Frank, J.L. (2016). Improving Teacher Awareness and Well-Being Through CARE: A Qualitative Analysis of the Underlying Mechanisms. Mindfulness, 7(1): 130–142.

Sharp, J.E., and Jennings. P.A. (2016). Strengthening Teacher Presence Through Mindfulness: What Educators Say About the Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) Program. Mindfulness, 7(1): 209–218.