[Chair: Zoe Morris]
Social-emotional learning (SEL) focuses on teaching social and emotional skills alongside academic curriculum with the aim of fostering thoughtful, socially responsible individuals (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger, 2011). Research has shown that SEL has positive outcomes for students (Durlak et al., 2011) and teachers (Ransford, Greenberg, Domitrovitch, Small, & Jacobson, 2009). With the increasing call for implementing SEL in the classroom (Durlak et al., 2011), however, more research is needed to develop a comprehensive understanding about the impact of SEL on teachers. As such, the aim of the current study was to explore how teachers' beliefs about SEL influence perceived stress, job satisfaction, and efficacy among Canadian teachers at different career stages.
Participants included 664 teachers (80% female, 74% primary) from Canada, who completed self-report measures on beliefs about SEL (Brackett, Reyes, Rivers, Elbertson, & Salovey, 2011), perceived stress (Boyle, Borg, Falzon, & Baglioni, 1995), job satisfaction (Spector, 1997), and efficacy (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001). For SEL, three beliefs were examined: comfort in implementing SEL, commitment to improving SEL skills, and perceived leadership support for SEL. For data analysis, three groups based on teaching experience were examined: less than 11 years, 11-20 years, and 20 years plus. Data were analysed using hierarchical multiple regression.
The results revealed that SEL beliefs were significant predictors of perceived stress, job satisfaction, and efficacy in all three groups. Comfort in implementing SEL and perceived leadership support for SEL predicted lower perceived stress, and greater perceived job satisfaction and efficacy at several career stages. For these findings, it is possible that SEL promotes experiences such as healthy teacher-student relationships, effective classroom management, and teacher well-being (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009) that relate to reduced stress, greater job satisfaction, and greater efficacy. In contrast, commitment to improving SEL skills was positively associated with stress among teachers with greater than 20 years experience. It is possible that a desire to improve SEL skills is associated with lower perceived efficacy, which can increase stress (e.g., Klassen & Chiu, 2011).
These findings provide evidence that SEL beliefs play important and varying roles in teachers' outcomes at different career stages. Given the increasing call for SEL implementation in schools (Durlak et al., 2011), and the important relations between teacher outcomes and student motivation (Pakarinen et al., 2010), understanding how SEL influences teachers is an important issue. Further implications will be discussed.