Devereux MA/RI psychologist shares findings from social-emotional learning study at NASP convention
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Massachusetts and Rhode Island Therapeutic Day School Licensed Psychologist Jessica Kemp, Ph.D., NCSP, HSP, recently detailed findings from her study examining the effectiveness of aligning proactive classroom management practices with social and emotional learning (SEL) skills at the annual National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) convention.
Each year, the NASP convention provides an opportunity for school psychologists from across the country to connect with peers and professional experts and hear the latest research on how to improve children’s emotional well-being. The theme of this year’s convention, which was held in Boston, was “Engaging Hearts and Minds.”
“I was honored for my presentation to be accepted into the convention, and excited for the opportunity to network with so many people who also are interested in, and passionate about, integrating SEL into their school settings,” said Kemp.
About the study
To conduct her study, Kemp implemented a SEL program in 10 classrooms serving students with social, emotional and behavioral challenges in third through 12th grades at Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s therapeutic day school.
The SEL program incorporated eight lessons, focusing on skills, such as mindfulness, perspective-taking and empathy. Each lesson lasted two weeks. After receiving training on a designated SEL skill, teachers were asked to establish a routine to practice the skill with their students for five to 10 minutes per day, and acknowledge any student skill use throughout the day. Teachers were provided multiple activities to practice the skill and strategies to reinforce student skill practice. At the end of every lesson, the number of practices opportunities for each class was documented.
When the five-month SEL program was over, Kemp conducted a survey, which found that 78 percent of students reported SEL skills could be “definitely” or “somewhat” helpful to them, while 58 percent of students said they learned at least three new SEL skills. In addition, 100 percent of teachers reported they “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that: 1) they learned specific skills to help coach students in the moment; 2) practicing SEL skills throughout the day was beneficial for their students; and 3) they could use SEL skills to enhance their own social and emotional competence.
“We want to help students achieve social and emotional success – while they are in our care and throughout their lives,” Kemp explained. “Findings from the study show that aligning school-wide SEL skills with daily classroom management practices is a feasible and socially valid approach for both students and teachers.”
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