To Reach The Students, Teach The Teachers

A National Scan of Teacher Preparation and Social & Emotional Learning

February 1, 2017
CASEL / University of British Columbia
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Teachers are central in modeling and teaching SEL skills to students. It is important that they have the necessary preparation and training themselves. But do state teacher certification requirements include SEL? And do teacher education programs incorporate SEL into pre-service training courses?

We collaborated with the faculty of education at the University of British Columbia to answer these questions in this first-ever scan of teacher preparation related to SEL.

The good news. Almost all states (48) have some certification requirements aimed at ensuring teachers know how to promote SEL in students, with more than half requiring a comprehensive focus on SEL development in children.
  • More than half of states (27) have teacher certification requirements that have a comprehensive focus on the promotion of student SEL. About a dozen others include such requirements but to a lesser degree. A few states only require the promotion of student SEL skills in certain grades or subjects. Three states don’t have any such requirements.
  • Nearly every state (42) has comprehensive requirements to help pre-service teachers acquire the skills and knowledge to develop the kind of learning environment that fosters strong SEL.
  • All 50 states and DC have some certification requirements that address developing teachers’ own SEL competencies
The bad news. Despite state requirements, the report finds very few schools of education teach how to help students learn SEL skills and behaviors
  • The overwhelming majority of teacher-prep programs don't have courses that help teachers nurture the core SEL skills in children.
  • Schools of education in most states, however, do offer courses that help teachers develop their own SEL skills—a good first step.
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