Inservice and Preservice Teacher Knowledge and Perceptions of Social Emotional Learning and Its Impact on Reading and Overall Academic Attainment

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This dissertation describes the results of two studies that examined preservice and inservice teachers' knowledge of social and emotional learning (SEL) and its impact on academic achievement. Components of SEL, such as self-efficacy and self-regulation, play an important role in academic attainment and can be especially beneficial to young readers. One hundred and seventy inservice and 155 preservice teachers completed surveys that measured their overall knowledge of SEL concepts and perceptions regarding their preparedness for teaching SEL, its importance, and implementation.

The descriptive results indicated both inservice and preservice teachers had some underlying knowledge regarding SEL, but performed poorly in identifying definitions of fundamental SEL terms. The large majority of preservice and inservice teachers felt SEL was important to academic achievement, but seemed conflicted about the role of SEL in classroom instruction. Responses from inservice and preservice teachers indicate they may feel underprepared for teaching SEL in their classrooms. Multiple regression analyses revealed preservice teachers' responses to items on the perceptions scales predicted overall knowledge scores. Analysis of Variance results indicated there were no differences by demographic variables on overall teacher knowledge scores and responses to perceptions scales.

The results are consistent with previous findings on teachers' perceptions of SEL's importance. Implications for teacher preparation programs and classroom instruction are discussed along with directions for future research.