Teacher Perceptions of Social-Emotional Learning Program Implementation and Sustainability in One School Division in Northern Virginia


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Virginia Tech


In recent years, leaders in school divisions across the nation have begun to implement social-emotional learning (SEL) curricula and programs explicitly within the academic day (DePaoli et al., 2017; Graczyk et al., 2013; Oberle et al., 2019). The purpose of this study was to examine teachers' perceptions of their role, as well as the role of school leadership, in the implementation and sustainability of an SEL curriculum. To conduct the study, all elementary teachers in one school division, approximately 220 teachers, were invited to participate by completing a survey regarding their beliefs and perceptions of implementation. Respondents supplied data for the study by providing demographic information, responding to four open-ended questions, and answering 42 questions by indicating their perception on a 5-point scale. The survey received a 27% response rate. The collected data were analyzed using statistics of responses to generate response category means, compile the response rate of data for each question, and code emerging themes to inform findings. Findings indicated the teachers felt it was the responsibility of all stakeholders to teach and model SEL for students. Most respondents, 85%, highly agreed with the belief that SEL practices promoted academic success by selecting almost always or always on the scaled response. Findings also indicated the teachers felt their building leadership did nothing to support SEL implementation, and further stipulated that more time and training were necessary to implement SEL successfully. The findings led to three implications for school leadership. First, teachers should partner with all other staff members and adults in the learning community to model and deliver SEL instruction. Second, data analysis revealed school leadership should identify one SEL curriculum for the school to ensure consistency in training, monitoring, and implementation. Finally, school leaders should dedicate time in the school day for explicit SEL instruction.



Social-Emotional Learning (SEL); Teacher Perception; Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Implementation