Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Shin, Eui-kyung

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction (CI)


Helping students cultivate their social and emotional well-being is critical to preparing them for their futures. In recent years, school districts have adopted social and emotional learning (SEL) standards and began implementing prepackaged curriculum to help teachers address students’ needs. This study explores the perspectives of six veteran teachers implementing an SEL curriculum in a Midwestern elementary school. After a six-member focus group interview, one participant from third, fourth, and fifth grade were chosen to be interviewed and observed to find their individual perspectives of the process. Data were analyzed within the CASEL framework and the Responsive Classroom practices to identify how they incorporated the SEL practices into their classroom environment as well as the changes they made to their classroom practices and the associated challenges. Findings of how they incorporated the practices included committing to starting each day with SEL activities and utilizing positive language to build relationships and strengthen positive student behaviors. Findings also showed that participants made changes to their classroom practices by being more mindful of using the strategies throughout the day, teaching communication and relationship skills helped students become positive members of their school community, and making personal connections with students to understand their individual needs. Additionally, findings showed how the participants overcame the challenges of time and insufficient training. Furthermore, based on the findings, recommendations for the field of education and further research were described. Recommendations in the field of education include dedicating specific time to SEL, strengthening competence in each practice, seeking SEL classes as part of their continuing education credits, partnering with administration to facilitate additional training, and using social media to find activities and share content they have used in their classroom. Additionally, SEL program creators should consider identifying the practices as most critical to facilitate the implementation process and creating a separate practice to facilitate real-world issues. Recommendations for future research include replicating the study in other grade levels or in a culturally diverse setting. Additionally, research could be done using other SEL programs.


186 pages




Northern Illinois University

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In Copyright

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