Social and Emotional Learning and School Climate Program
Social and emotional learning and school climate programs build strong relationships among students, teachers and the community. Students are taught how to navigate through the complexities of their world by managing their emotions, showing empathy for others, learning how to set and achieve goals, and make responsible decisions. A critical SEL program looks at these factors plus addresses equity in education. Studies have shown that the outcomes of social and emotional learning programs increase attention, problem solving skills, interpersonal skills, and the ability to plan for social interactions. These programs help to establish a caring community by raising responsible adults through carefully planned curriculum that incorporate SEL lessons into day-to-day learning.
Quinnipiac University’s Assistant Teaching Professor of Education Jennifer Dauphinais, Ed.D., coordinator of the Social and Emotional Learning and School Climate program, discusses the importance of this program in today’s schools.
Q & A
Q: What does a school need to consider about their current SEL program?
JD: The school needs to consider if the SEL and school climate initiatives we are familiar with are equitable for students, supportive of stakeholder diversity, and aligned with culturally relevant approaches to schooling. Our program provides students with an exploration of the important historical, philosophical, and sociological foundations underlying the SEL approach to education. We examine a wide range of research from the field, inquiring about a few of the major domains and perspectives of SEL and school climate research, and how SEL is conceptualized across developmental bands in K-12 settings. By taking an equity literacy approach throughout our course work, we ask our students to investigate where they stand/fit/connect within the larger field based on their personal and professional commitments.
Q: What makes Quinnipiac University’s Certificate in Social and Emotional Learning and School Climate program unique?
JD: One element that makes our program unique is our emphasis on the importance of healthy adults in promoting SEL climates, which work to support children and young adults. Throughout our courses, we cover a range of topics including an understanding of implicit bias and the impact of micro-aggressions, while also engaging in narrative explorations of “self” in service of community wellness. Students also identify ongoing school data points that are related to the course topics and goals, in order develop and plan for personal, classroom-specific, or school-wide shifts in practice. In the final phase of the program, we focus on how to apply our program pedagogy and learning to the communities’ needs and desires for school change.
Q: How does the certificate program impact an educator’s ability to see SEL from a holistic approach?
JD: The SEL certificate draws from Comer’s program and incorporates intense research including child and cognitive development, trauma-informed instruction and learning science. Practitioners must understand and practice self-care and promote resiliency in the classroom, but first they must discern what that means through the lens of race, class, gender and sexuality. Implementation of an SEL program means transforming curriculum, understanding culturally relevant pedagogy, and the effects of holistic management and holistic tools. Support for the school community begins with leaders who must be cognizant of the effects of policy and procedures with an SEL lens. Educators have the capability to make this possible through an effective SEL program.
Q: After a student completes their certificate, what should they expect to take away from the program?
JD: When leaving the program, our students have a firm understanding of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for school leaders to create efficient strategies and systems for leading sustainable school wide SEL initiatives.
Quinnipiac University’s Certificate in Social and Emotional Learning and School Climate is an online program that prepares educators to collaboratively build a supportive school-wide environment through coursework that critically examines the foundations of SEL.
Quinnipiac University’s School of Education offers this program online for current educators who want to better serve their students and create effective change in their communities. Learn more about Quinnipiac University’s Certificate in Social and Emotional Learning and School Climate.