Curry Associate Professor Sara Rimm-Kaufman’s work on social-emotional learning has been making big news lately. This continued Saturday when her research on Responsive Classrooms was featured in the New York Times Opinionator section. The article, Teaching Lessons, by Sara Mosle, articulates why the Responsive Classrooms method of social-emotional learning is effective:
Why does Responsive Classroom work where other approaches do not? Sara E. Rimm-Kaufman, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of education at the University of Virginia, theorizes it’s because teachers not only received intensive training but also had follow-up coaching once they returned to their classrooms, which increased the chances that new practices would take hold. Teachers also praised the program’s pacing: coaches encouraged teachers to adopt steps slowly over a sustained period, instead of trying to transform their classrooms overnight.
“The take-home message,” Dr. Rimm-Kaufman says, “is that interventions that take a long time to learn and that require more resources also produce more change.” The findings suggest that schools and districts would do better to devote limited resources to a few sustained programs, rather than providing scattershot offerings in teacher training.