Reports & Guidance

The Missing Piece

A National Teacher Survey on How Social and Emotional Learning Can Empower Children and Transform Schools

January 1, 2013

Research shows that teachers have the greatest impact on student learning; moreover, their opinions carry great weight, especially among parents and policymakers. Understanding their views on SEL is critical in building understanding and support for the movement.

Our landmark survey of 605 teachers in 2013 found strong support for SEL. Teachers told us:

They understand, value, and endorse SEL for all students.
  • 93 percent believe SEL is very or fairly important for the in-school student experience.
  • 95 percent believe social and emotional skills are teachable.
  • 88 percent report SEL occurs in their schools on some level, although less than half (44 percent) say social and emotional skills are being taught on a schoolwide, programmatic basis.
They believe SEL helps students achieve in school, work, and life.
  • 75 percent believe SEL will improve student academic achievement.
  • Of the teachers who list poor student behavior as at least somewhat of a problem, 78 percent say SEL is very important and 79 percent think it will improve student performance.
  • Nearly half of teachers (42 percent) list bullying as at least somewhat of a problem, and 75 percent of these teachers think SEL is very important.
They identify key accelerators for SEL.
  • 62 percent think the development of social and emotional skills should be explicitly stated in their state education standards.
  • 82 percent are interested in receiving further training on SEL.
  • 81 percent say a lack of skills reinforcement at home is a big challenge for their school trying to implement SEL, and 66 percent list it as the biggest challenge.

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