Teaching Emotional Intelligence

What’s the best way to teach emotional intelligence skills in school? The answer depends on who is learning them. This research area focuses on developing innovative, effective approaches to teaching emotional intelligence to students of various ages, staff, parents, teachers, and administrators. With the help of partner schools, we create and field-test new resources and approaches over the long term.

We also study how RULER can be most effective in different contexts–specifically, high-needs districts in cities, suburbs, and rural areas. Emotions matter for all students, not just those whose schools have plenty of financial and staff support. So we’re designing ways to help high-needs schools become “RULER-ready.”

Adapting RULER for Preschool

Preschool RULER provides educators and families with ways to work the teaching of emotional intelligence into interactions and learning activities at school and at home. Supported by a grant from the Institute for Education Sciences, we developed Preschool RULER. We will soon study the effects of Preschool RULER on young children’s emotional intelligence and academic skills.

Adapting RULER for High School

How can high schools best prepare students for the transition to young adulthood and college? High school RULER combines RULER principles with strategies from counseling and social work to address that question. The Center has worked closely with educators and students to develop high school RULER materials with the goal of creating a curriculum focused on preparing students emotionally for the challenges of navigating adolescence. The curriculum aims to develop students’ emotional intelligence, self- and social awareness, critical thinking, effective decision-making, creative problem-solving ability, and goal-setting skills.

RULER for Families

RULER for Families explores how schools can use emotional intelligence to connect with families and build stronger school-home relationships. We have created web-based resources called the School-Home Playbook to help schools more easily reach families and extend RULER’s approach to the home. For example, we provide workshops on topics relevant to parents and created newsletter templates for schools to connect school and home emotional intelligence activities. We are testing the usability and effectiveness of the Playbook by examining educators’ use of the resources and feedback on design and use of the resources.

RULER for School Leaders

Emotional intelligence training for leaders is part of any RULER rollout, but for leaders whose schools aren’t directly involved with RULER, we offer RULER Leadership Institutes. We are designing and testing strategies to help leaders learn ways to integrate RULER practices into their everyday lives. Our Leadership Institutes are designed to help leaders increase their awareness of their own and others’ emotions and learn about how emotions influence decisions. School leaders engage in a range of activities to acquire resources and skills to support emotional development within their schools.