A Co-Teaching Insight on SEL Curriculum Development and Implementation

A Co-Teaching Insight on SEL Curriculum Development and Implementation

Abigail Rose Smurr, Candace M. Cano
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4906-3.ch003
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Cano and Smurr became co-teachers and developed a social emotional learning (SEL) supplementary curriculum to use along their mandated English Language Arts curricula in their seventh and eighth grade classes. Through a process of research and development, their primary purpose was to identify the effectiveness of social emotional learning curriculum. This chapter will expand on the implementation and the impact of SEL curriculum created by Cano and Smurr; this curriculum was developed and implemented throughout the 2018-2019 school year and demonstrated student responsiveness towards learning and personal well-being. The SEL curriculum is strongly based off CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) standards: self-efficacy, growth mindset, self-management, social awareness, and self-awareness. The assignments impacted student learning in multiple areas such as an avenue of advocacy for learning needs, normalized stigmatized topics in the classroom, and assistance in student self-reflection and metacognition skills.
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Smurr (2019) declares that “Addressing social emotional competencies within classroom curriculum and content is instrumental for students” as research increasingly shows how it improves student engagement within the classroom (Smurr, 2019). When students have an emotional tie or connection to learning, it helps students become more engaged with content (Salazar, 2013). Numerous studies demonstrate that students who participate in SEL content have a higher success rate with academics. According to Durklak, Domitrovich, Weissberg, and Gulotta (as cited by Haymovitz, Houseal-Allport, Lee, and Svistovaz, 2018), “[social emotional learning] even can boost test scores between 11 and 17 points out of 100” (p. 46). This presents the opportunity for school districts to implement SEL system-wide.

To expand on this gap of SEL literature, specifically from a qualitative perspective, this chapter provides background information of the current SEL literature. It also provides Cano and Smurr’s insight on the development, implementation, response to, and observed effects of a co-written supplemental SEL curriculum. Cano and Smurr’s qualitative research provides: observations, strategies, and practical experiences to further enhance understanding for other educational professionals and allows for the SEL research work to be propelled further in other educational spaces.


Foundations Of Sel

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is known worldwide through multiple lenses. The well-known research group, who coined the term “Social Emotional Learning,” is CASEL. They provide strong research to exemplify the benefits of social emotional learning and equips educators with resources to recreate these effects (Smurr, 2019). CASEL enlightens educators with strong quantitative evidence of social emotional curriculum models that enhance classroom engagement for learners to have a domino effect in the students’ school, home, and overall environment (“What is SEL”, n.d.).

As schools implement SEL to address engagement issues and reach their students, most SEL practices complement the idea that a student’s basic needs must be addressed prior to academic curriculum and content (Smurr, 2019). Maslow’s research frames the foundations of SEL because his research focused on the theoretical framework psychology and human basic needs, which led to his “Hierarchy of Needs” model. This model ranks the basic needs of an individual that must be met, like their physical safety, sense of belonging, and self-esteem (Perks, 1999). Maslow’s model suggests that SEL concepts are a basic human need, which must be met before learning at a high level (Smurr, 2019). As these needs are met, higher growth needs such as self-actualization or academic goals are attainable (Perks, 1999). ]

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