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REL Midwest Ask A REL Response

Educator Effectiveness

April 2018

Question:

What does the research say about evidence-based practices to best support a K–12 school district’s approach to supporting and enhancing the social-emotional well-being of staff?



Response:

Following an established Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest protocol, we conducted a search for research reports and descriptive studies on evidence-based practices of K–12 school districts to support and enhance the social-emotional well-being of staff. For details on the databases and sources, keywords, and selection criteria used to create this response, please see the Methods section at the end of this memo.

Below, we share a sampling of the publicly accessible resources on this topic. References are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. The search conducted is not comprehensive; other relevant references and resources may exist. For each reference, we provide an abstract, excerpt, or summary written by the study’s author or publisher. We have not evaluated the quality of these references, but provide them for your information only.

Research References

Abenavoli, R. M., Harris, H. R., Katz, D. A., Jennings, P. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2014). Mindfulness promotes educators’ efficacy in the classroom. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED562792

From the ERIC abstract: “Teachers are responsible for delivering academic instruction, facilitating student learning and engagement, and managing classroom behavior. Stress may interfere with performance in the classroom, however (Tsouloupas, Carson, Matthews, Grawitch, & Barber, 2010), and recent studies suggest that stress is quite common among today’s educators. In light of these trends and their potential for negatively impacting students’ learning, it is critical to identify factors that support educators’ health, wellbeing, and effectiveness. The Prosocial Classroom Model (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009) suggests that mindfulness and other aspects of social-emotional competence may lead to more effective classroom management and protect educators from experiencing a ‘burnout cascade’ of deteriorating classroom climate, student misbehavior, and emotional exhaustion. Mindfulness has been defined as ‘paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally’ (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, p. 4), and mindfulness training for adults has been linked with reductions in stress and improvements in wellbeing (Ospina et al., 2007). Emerging evidence from intervention studies suggests that mindfulness training is associated with improvements in teachers’ classroom behavior (e.g., Flook, Goldberg, Pinger, Bonus, & Davidson, 2013; Jennings, Frank, Snowberg, Coccia, & Greenberg, 2013). In a central Pennsylvania middle school setting, the authors examined how educators’ mindfulness at the beginning of the school year predicted change in educators’ self-reported efficacy with respect to student engagement, classroom management, and instructional practices from fall to spring of the school year. Two tables are appended.”

Cook, C. R., Miller, F. G., Fiat, A., Renshaw, T., Frye, M., Joseph, G., et al. (2017). Promoting secondary teachers’ well-being and intentions to implement evidence-based practices: Randomized evaluation of the Achiever Resilience Curriculum. Psychology in the Schools, 54(1), 13–28. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1122766

From the ERIC abstract: “Teaching is regarded as one of the most challenging yet rewarding professions. Moreover, research has shown that stress and burnout are likely to undermine teacher effectiveness and negatively impact their willingness and intentions to implement evidence-based practices. The present study sought to contribute to a growing body of research implicating the importance of teacher well-being by evaluating the efficacy of a theoretically based training that integrates several practices into a single program (e.g., mindfulness, values clarification, gratitude practices, sleep hygiene, etc.) that are designed to promote the well-being of teachers—the ACHIEVER Resilience Curriculum (ARC). To evaluate the ARC, a randomized block controlled study was conducted with pre–post measurement. Results from the study indicated that, compared with an active control group, teachers who participated in the ARC experienced significantly better outcomes, characterized by medium effect sizes, including reductions in job-related stress, improvements in teaching self-efficacy, and stronger intentions to implement evidence-based classroom practices. The implications of these findings for teacher preparation and professional development, along with the limitations of the study, are discussed.”

Domitrovich, C. E., Bradshaw, C. P., Berg, J. K., Pas, E. T., Becker, K. D., Musci, R., et al. (2016). How do school-based prevention programs impact teachers? Findings from a randomized trial of an integrated classroom management and social-emotional program. Prevention Science, 17(3), 325–337. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11121-015-0618-z

From the abstract: “A number of classroom-based interventions have been developed to improve social and behavioral outcomes for students, yet few studies have examined how these programs impact the teachers who are implementing them. Impacts on teachers may affect students and therefore also serve as an important proximal outcome to examine. The current study draws upon data from a school-based randomized controlled trial testing the impact of two prevention programs. In one intervention condition, teachers were trained in the classroom behavior management program, PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG). In a second intervention condition, teachers were trained to use an integrated program, referred to as PATHS to PAX, of the PAX GBG and a social and emotional learning curriculum called Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS©). This study aimed to determine whether both interventions positively impacted teachers, with a particular interest in the teachers’ own beliefs and perceptions regarding self-efficacy, burnout, and social-emotional competence. The sample included 350 K-5 teachers across 27 schools (18 schools randomized to intervention, 9 to control). Multilevel latent growth curve analyses indicated that the PATHS to PAX condition generally demonstrated the most benefits to teachers, relative to both the control and PAX GBG conditions. These findings suggest that school-based preventive interventions can have a positive impact on teachers’ beliefs and perceptions, particularly when the program includes a social-emotional component. Several possible mechanisms might account for the added benefit to teachers. Additional research is needed to better understand how these programs impact teachers, as well as students.”

Note: REL Midwest was unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this resource. Although REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible, it was determined that this resource may be of interest to you. It may be found through university or public library systems.

Harris, A. R., Jennings, P. A., Abenavoli, R. M., Katz, D. A., Greenberg, M. T., & Schussler, D. (2014). A daily dose of CALM: Supporting middle school educators’ wellbeing and classroom functioning through a brief stress reduction intervention. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED562741

From the ERIC abstract: “The current study involved the development, implementation, and evaluation of a universal school-based intervention designed to promote health and wellbeing among educators. This study aims to further investigate the efficacy of contemplative practices as a support for teacher wellbeing. The study contributes a new perspective to the current literature by including both classroom teachers and other school personnel and by testing an innovative intervention model. CALM is an intervention program based in gentle yoga and mindfulness practices designed specifically to promote health and wellbeing among teachers and school personnel by providing a daily stress reduction practice as well as empowering participants with skills and strategies to be used outside of the program. The current research tested the feasibility and efficacy of CALM, a 16-week brief daily yoga-based program integrated into the school setting. This study involved a quasi-experimental efficacy trial involving 64 educators from two schools. This study demonstrates that a brief daily program of mindfulness and yoga practice is a feasible strategy to impact educators’ social-emotional competence and wellbeing. One figure and one table are appended.”

Jennings, P. A., Brown, J. L., Frank, J. L., Doyle, S., Oh, Y., Davis, R., et al. (2017). Impacts of the CARE for Teachers program on teachers’ social and emotional competence and classroom interactions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(7), 1010–1028. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1158314

From the ERIC abstract: “Understanding teachers’ stress is of critical importance to address the challenges in today's educational climate. Growing numbers of teachers are reporting high levels of occupational stress, and high levels of teacher turnover are having a negative impact on education quality. Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE for Teachers) is a mindfulness-based professional development program designed to promote teachers’ social and emotional competence and improve the quality of classroom interactions. The efficacy of the program was assessed using a cluster randomized trial design involving 36 urban elementary schools and 224 teachers. The CARE for Teachers program involved 30 hr of in-person training in addition to intersession phone coaching. At both pre- and postintervention, teachers completed self-report measures and assessments of their participating students. Teachers’ classrooms were observed and coded using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). Analyses showed that CARE for Teachers had statistically significant direct positive effects on adaptive emotion regulation, mindfulness, psychological distress, and time urgency. CARE for Teachers also had a statistically significant positive effect on the emotional support domain of the CLASS. The present findings indicate that CARE for Teachers is an effective professional development both for promoting teachers’ social and emotional competence and increasing the quality of their classroom interactions.”

Note: REL Midwest was unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this resource. Although REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible, it was determined that this resource may be of interest to you. It may be found through university or public library systems.

Jennings, P. A., Brown, J. L., Frank, J., Tanler, R., Doyle, S., Rasheed, D., et al. (2014). Promoting teachers’ social and emotional competence: A replication study of the Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) program. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED562749

From the ERIC abstract: “The present study, which takes place in a high-poverty section of a large urban area of the northeastern United States, is based upon the prosocial classroom theoretical model that emphasizes the significance of teachers’ social and emotional competence (SEC) and well-being in the development and maintenance of supportive teacher-student relationships, effective classroom management, and social and emotional learning (SEL) program effectiveness. These factors, as well as teachers’ classroom management and instructional skills contribute to creating a classroom climate that is conducive to learning and that promotes positive developmental behavioral and academic outcomes among students. Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) is a mindfulness-based professional development program designed to reduce stress, promote SEC and improve teachers’ performance and classroom learning environments. From 8 elementary schools the authors recruited and consented 55 teachers (90.2% female, mean age = 39.41). They had relatively low attrition (7.2%) which was largely balanced across treatment and control conditions, resulting in a diverse sample of 51 teachers (53% white). All were regular lead teachers working in a self-contained classroom setting. The results reported here are from an IES-funded 4-year efficacy and replication study of CARE. The data are from the teacher self-report collected from the first year cohort of the cluster randomized controlled trial. After the teachers completed self-reports they were randomly assigned within schools to receive the CARE intervention or to a wait-list control group. After the treatment group received the CARE program, the same self-report battery was administered to both groups. A figure is appended.”

Jennings, P. A., Frank, J. L., Snowberg, K. E., Coccia, M. A., & 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. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1055814

From the ERIC abstract: “Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE for Teachers) is a mindfulness-based professional development program designed to reduce stress and improve teachers’ performance and classroom learning environments. A randomized controlled trial examined program efficacy and acceptability among a sample of 50 teachers randomly assigned to CARE or waitlist control condition. Participants completed a battery of self-report measures at pre- and postintervention to assess the impact of the CARE program on general well-being, efficacy, burnout/time pressure, and mindfulness. Participants in the CARE group completed an evaluation of the program after completing the intervention. ANCOVAs were computed between the CARE group and control group for each outcome, and the pretest scores served as a covariate. Participation in the CARE program resulted in significant improvements in teacher well-being, efficacy, burnout/time-related stress, and mindfulness compared with controls. Evaluation data showed that teachers viewed CARE as a feasible, acceptable, and effective method for reducing stress and improving performance. Results suggest that the CARE program has promise to support teachers working in challenging settings and consequently improve classroom environments.”

Note: REL Midwest was unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this resource. Although REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible, it was determined that this resource may be of interest to you. It may be found through university or public library systems.

Jennings, P. A., Snowberg, K. E., Coccia, M. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2011). Improving classroom learning environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): Results of two pilot studies. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 46(1), 37–48. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ948648

From the ERIC abstract: “Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) is a professional development program designed to reduce stress and improve teachers’ performance. Two pilot studies examined program feasibility and attractiveness and preliminary evidence of efficacy. Study 1 involved educators from a high-poverty urban setting (n = 31). Study 2 involved student teachers and 10 of their mentors working in a suburban/semi-rural setting (n = 43) (treatment and control groups). While urban educators showed significant pre-post improvements in mindfulness and time urgency, the other sample did not, suggesting that CARE may be more efficacious in supporting teachers working in high-risk settings.”

Jones, S. M., Bouffard, S. M., & Weissbourd, R. (2013). Educators’ social and emotional skills vital to learning. Phi Delta Kappan, 94(8), 62–65. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1015562

From the ERIC abstract: “Teachers’ social and emotional competencies are very important to their overall effectiveness, but such skills are frequently overlooked. Social and emotional competencies like managing emotions and stress are needed more today than ever before. More practices and policies to support and foster educators’ social and emotional competencies are needed. Schools must overcome the false assumption that all educators naturally possess these abilities in equal measure. They don’t. But, as with other competencies, they can be built through coaching and other forms of support.”

Note: REL Midwest was unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this resource. Although REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible, it was determined that this resource may be of interest to you. It may be found through university or public library systems.

Ross, S. W., Romer, N., & Horner, R. H. (2012). Teacher well-being and the implementation of school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 14(2), 118–128. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ960184

From the ERIC abstract: “Teacher well-being has become a major issue in the United States with increasing diversity and demands across classrooms and schools. With this in mind, the current study analyzed the relationship between outcomes of teacher well-being, including burnout and efficacy, and the implementation of School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS). Using a multilevel regression approach, the surveys of 184 teachers across 40 elementary schools were analyzed at individual and school levels. Results indicated that teachers in schools implementing SWPBIS with fidelity had significantly lower levels of burnout and significantly higher levels of efficacy. In addition, an interaction effect implied that teachers benefited most from SWPBIS implementation in schools of low socioeconomic status. Limitations of the study are discussed and directions for future interventions and research are recommended.”

Note: REL Midwest was unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this resource. Although REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible, it was determined that this resource may be of interest to you. It may be found through university or public library systems.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2017). Social and emotional learning and teachers. Future of Children, 27(1), 137–155. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1145076

From the ERIC abstract: “Teachers are the engine that drives social and emotional learning (SEL) programs and practices in schools and classrooms, and their own social-emotional competence and wellbeing strongly influence their students. But when teachers poorly manage the social and emotional demands of teaching, students’ academic achievement and behavior both suffer. How can we boost teachers’ social-emotional competence, and how can we help them create the kind of classroom environment that promotes students’ SEL? In this article, Kimberly Schonert-Reichl reviews the results of several interventions that have specifically sought to improve teachers’ social-emotional competence and stress management in school, many of which are promising. She also shows how teachers’ beliefs—about their own teaching efficacy, or about whether they receive adequate support, for example—influence the fidelity with which they implement SEL programs in the classroom. When fidelity is low, SEL programs are less successful. Finally, she examines the extent to which US teacher education programs prepare teacher candidates to promote their own and their students’ social-emotional competence.”

Shankland, R., & Rosset, E. (2017). Review of brief school-based positive psychological interventions: A taster for teachers and educators. Educational Psychology Review, 29(2), 363–392. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1141802

From the ERIC abstract: “Research studies looking into the effects of positive psychology interventions (PPIs) implemented in classrooms have yielded promising results, not only in terms of student well-being but also in terms of academic outcomes, school climate, and teacher well-being. However, a number of PPIs require relatively high levels of commitment from school administrators and teachers to put into place. This may result in many teachers dismissing PPIs across the board as too complicated to implement. The goal of the present article is thus to present a review of brief PPIs (BPPIs) based on positive psychology research in order to encourage involvement in such interventions at school. The BPPIs presented here have been categorized into four sections according to established areas of research in positive psychology, mindfulness, gratitude, strengths, and positive relationships, with precise examples of practices which have been successfully implemented and have demonstrated diverse benefits on student learning and well-being. The potential limitations of such interventions are also highlighted in order to foster best practices and cross-cultural adaptations of such projects.”

Methods

Keywords and Search Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • “social and emotional learning” teacher wellbeing

  • “mindfulness” AND “teacher wellbeing”

  • “social and emotional learning” AND “school culture”

  • “social and emotional learning” AND “teacher attitudes”

  • “teacher wellbeing”

  • “social and emotional” AND “educators”

  • author: Patricia A. Jennings

Databases and Search Engines

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of more than 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Additionally, we searched IES and Google Scholar.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published over the last 15 years, from 2002 to present, were include in the search and review.

  • Search priorities of reference sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations.

  • Methodology: We used the following methodological priorities/considerations in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types—randomized control trials, quasi-experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, and so forth, generally in this order, (b) target population, samples (e.g., representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected), study duration, and so forth, and (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, and so forth.
This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL Region) at American Institutes for Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Midwest under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0007, administered by American Institutes for Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.