Bellevue School District is introducing a new type of curriculum called the RULER approach this year. It is a social and emotional learning program that will be introduced in addition to math, reading, writing, science, among others.
The curriculum, designed for grades three through five to help children, will teach them to work well together. Called the RULER approach – an acronym for Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing and Regulating emotion – the curriculum will teach skills to promote effective personal, social and workplace success. The idea is based on decades of research from Yale University.
Through a sophisticated yet accessible series of professional development offerings, The RULER Approach teaches 5 key emotional literacy skills:
- Recognizing emotions in oneself and others
- Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions
- Labeling the full range of emotions using a rich vocabulary
- Expressing emotions appropriately in different contexts
- Regulating emotions effectively to foster healthy relationships and achieve goals
Research suggests that developing emotional literacy fosters a range of behaviors and attitudes essential to positive development and academic achievement. This research has proven that emotional skills are integral to learning, making sound judgments, forming healthy relationships, physical and mental health, and achieving both in and out of the classroom. After one year of implementing The RULER Approach, students in RULER classrooms (compared to those who were not) had higher end of year grades, better study skills, social skills, and fewer attention and learning problems. RULER classrooms also were observed to be more positive learning environments.
The following differences were found between RULER and comparison classrooms:
- 11% difference in end of year grades (measured by report cards)
- 19% difference in adaptability (greater study, social, and leadership skills)
- 17% difference in school problems (fewer attention and learning problems)
- 12% difference in observed positive emotional climate
These results drive Ruler Group’s belief that an emotionally literate and socially skilled society is a better educated, more peaceful, healthy and productive society.
This approach prepares school leaders to develop a sustainable and affordable model to build capacity within their schools and districts, using a Train-the-Trainer Approach. This means that RULER trained trainers gain advanced knowledge of The RULER Approach and become proficient at delivering all professional development offerings in their school, including workshops and coaching sessions. This comprehensive model ensures that students, teachers, special service providers, support staff, school leaders, and families receive the long-term benefits of The RULER Approach.
Over the school year, Bellevue School District students and staff will learn four "anchor tools" to develop skills:
- Emotional Literacy Charter: Students create and sign charters to describe how they want to feel in class, what needs to happen to support those feelings and guidelines for handling uncomfortable conflict.
- Mood Meter: Students learn to use a tool for recognizing and labeling their feelings.
- Meta-Moments: Students learn strategies for expanding the "space in time" between an emotional trigger and a response.
- Blueprint: Used to problem-solve conflicts and disagreements, with students and adults considering each other’s feelings and perspectives to identify healthy solutions.
The RULER approach will be built into lessons throughout the school year. While the RULER approach will be introduced to students in grades three through five this year, school staff and administrators across the district also have been trained to use the tools.