Nav: Home

Professor links positive-behavior programs to good grades

May 20, 2004

A new book co-edited by a University of Cincinnati professor is credited with "groundbreaking" research from the nation's leading experts on social and emotional learning (SEL). The book - titled Building Academic Success on Social and Emotional Learning: What Does the Research Say? - finds research that links programs to enhance a child's social-emotional development and character with building better grades and school performance. Co-editor Joseph E. Zins, a University of Cincinnati psychologist and professor of education and a nationally recognized expert in SEL and prevention research, says these findings are crucial in an era of school accountability, shrinking budgets and limited resources. He adds that the earlier children are exposed to these programs, the better for their future report cards as they continue to receive SEL instruction.

"SEL programs teach children to manage their emotions, care about others, make good decisions and behave ethically and responsibly," Zins explains. "Many programs are prevention-oriented - such as programs to prevent drug and alcohol abuse, tobacco use, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and school violence."

Zins says the book pins down three specific categories where social and emotional learning is tied to school success: School performance, student attitudes and student behavior.

School Performance
The research found that SEL programs generated:
    Higher achievements test scores and/or grades
    Improved math, English and social studies skills
    Improved academic performance from elementary to middle school
    Better problem solving and planning
Student Attitudes
The researchers reported that SEL programs built:
    Higher academic motivation and aspiration
    More positive attitudes toward school and learning
    Stronger connections to the school
    An ability to better cope with stress
School Behavior
The book credits SEL programs with:
    Fewer dropouts, suspensions and absences
    Fewer incidents of aggression and classroom disruption
    More classroom participation and more effort to achieve
    A better transition from elementary to middle school - a key time of stress for schoolchildren
"We advocate teaching these skills and competencies starting with preschool," Zins adds. "If it starts at the adolescent level, it may be too late."

The forward of the book is written by psychologist Daniel Goleman, whose New York Times' best-seller, Emotional Intelligence set off an international debate. About the new research collaboration published in Building Academic Success on Social and Emotional Learning: What Does the Research Say? Goleman writes, "The emotional centers of the brain are intricately interwoven with the neocortical areas involved in cognitive learning. When a child trying to learn is caught up in a distressing emotion, the centers for learning are temporarily hampered. The child's attention becomes preoccupied with whatever may be the source of the trouble. Because attention is of itself a limited capacity, the child has that much less ability to hear, to understand, or remember what a teacher or book is saying. In short, there is a direct link between emotions and learning."

The book ($27.95 paperback), released in April, is published by Teachers College Press. Among groups to whom Zins has presented the findings are the U.S. Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools National Technical Conference in Washington, D.C.; the Educational Testing Service; U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences and the Human Resources Research Organization in Princeton, N.J.; the National Conference on Conflict Resolution Education in Columbus; and he will be presenting May 18 at the Connecticut Department of Education Safe and Drug Free Schools Conference in Cromwell, Conn.
-end-


University of Cincinnati

Related Learning Articles:

When learning on your own is not enough
We make decisions based on not only our own learning experience, but also learning from others.
Learning more about particle collisions with machine learning
A team of Argonne scientists has devised a machine learning algorithm that calculates, with low computational time, how the ATLAS detector in the Large Hadron Collider would respond to the ten times more data expected with a planned upgrade in 2027.
Getting kids moving, and learning
Children are set to move more, improve their skills, and come up with their own creative tennis games with the launch of HomeCourtTennis, a new initiative to assist teachers and coaches with keeping kids active while at home.
How expectations influence learning
During learning, the brain is a prediction engine that continually makes theories about our environment and accurately registers whether an assumption is true or not.
Technology in higher education: learning with it instead of from it
Technology has shifted the way that professors teach students in higher education.
Learning is optimized when we fail 15% of the time
If you're always scoring 100%, you're probably not learning anything new.
School spending cuts triggered by great recession linked to sizable learning losses for learning losses for students in hardest hit areas
Substantial school spending cuts triggered by the Great Recession were associated with sizable losses in academic achievement for students living in counties most affected by the economic downturn, according to a new study published today in AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.
Lessons in learning
A new Harvard study shows that, though students felt like they learned more from traditional lectures, they actually learned more when taking part in active learning classrooms.
Learning to look
A team led by JGI scientists has overhauled the perception of inovirus diversity.
Sleep readies synapses for learning
Synapses in the hippocampus are larger and stronger after sleep deprivation, according to new research in mice published in JNeurosci.
More Learning News and Learning Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.