The Foundation supports efforts to expand educational opportunities at all levels. We are particularly interested in programs that:
- Nurture a love of learning in children to prepare them to learn and succeed in school.
- Strengthen the teaching profession through programs focused on developing effective teachers and principals.
- Motivate students to achieve and gain the skills that allow them to reach their academic and career goals, including vocational training.
SJSU Collaborative for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child | reachandteachthewholechild.org
The Missing Link to Teacher Effectiveness:
Acknowledge Alliance | www.acknowledgealliance.org
Embedding Social-Emotional Learning in Teacher Preparation
Problems with high school suspension rates, poor high school graduation rates, and the achievement gap persist. The new Common Core standards explicitly emphasize the need for student perseverance and resilience. Teachers play a key role in shaping the educational experience of children, however, there is a missing piece in their preparation, enabling them to be effective in responding to all these issues – attention to the Social-Emotional Dimension of Teaching and Learning (SEDTL). Inclusion of SEDTL in teacher preparation empowers new teachers to respond more effectively to the complex social-emotional issues that affect student learning and ability to thrive.
Created in 2009, the San José State University Collaborative for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child’s (CRTWC) mission is to enhance K-12 schools’ capacity to meet the needs of children and those educators who work with them by designing methods to embed SEDTL into teacher preparation; documenting and promoting the importance of SEDTL in teacher preparation; and working with teacher candidates on effectively employing these skills in classrooms.
What we are doing
The Morgan Family Foundation has provided multi-year funding to support CRTWC in a unique partnership with the non-profit Acknowledge Alliance (formerly Cleo Eulau Center) to focus on a systematic program redesign to embed SEDTL in the K-8 teacher preparation courses and field experiences at San José State University.
The specific goals of the project are: 1) to prepare new teachers with an understanding of how their own social-emotional needs and skills as educators impact their responses to students; and 2) to prepare teachers who know how to embed social-emotional learning (SEL) skills into their curriculum and management of the classroom, helping their students become resilient and able to thrive in academic work and beyond.
Why this is important for student learning
There is direct linkage between emotionally supportive classrooms to student learning; students have an increased sense of belonging and connection with their teacher, increased engagement in learning, lower absenteeism and fewer suspensions.
CRTWC engaged the non-profit Acknowledge Alliance as a partner in this project for their deep understanding of teacher resilience and twenty years of highly respected on-the-ground experience in classrooms. Acknowledge Alliance consultants provide invaluable professional development to the university faculty and their project research. CRTWC and Acknowledge Alliance have also engaged in a three-agency collaboration with the New Teacher Center to expand this work across the educator professional development continuum from pre-service to new teacher mentoring.
CRTWC’s unique approach seeks to embed SEL within the existing content courses and field experiences; and focus both on the students’ and the teachers’ SEL development. SJSU’s Multiple Subject program redesign impacts 100-125 K-8 teacher candidates and their cooperating teachers each semester, providing them with the SEL knowledge base, skills, and habits of mind to work more effectively with their students. As CRTWC begins work in Secondary Education, an additional 100 high school teacher graduates will receive this preparation each year.
Embedding SEDLT in teacher preparation leads to direct impact in classrooms and schools – engaged teachers and students, creating a pipeline of well-qualified effective teachers and higher teacher retention. We expect this project to be scalable, promote sustainable change within teacher education and ultimately lead to student academic and personal success.