Webinar

SEL Market Research: The Wallace Foundation & Edge Research

By Staff from Greater Twin Cities United Way

In efforts to unify the linguistic landscape, the Wallace Foundation appointed Edge Research in Arlington, VA as the primary market research firm to delve into the many terms surrounding the concept of educating children beyond academic knowledge.


SEL Market Research: The Wallace Foundation & Edge Research

Education professionals are now beginning to better recognize that their role in the education of children extends far beyond arithmetic, reading comprehension and grasping grade-level concepts. Educators are recognizing that children must also develop the skills needed to manage their emotions, build and sustain positive relationships and pilot social situations with confidence—along with many other necessary competencies that educators play a large role in facilitating.

But the language surrounding such competencies is quite broad, and therefore unspecified and inconsistent across education professionals and other child-focused venues.

In efforts to unify the linguistic landscape, the Wallace Foundation appointed Edge Research in Arlington, VA as the primary market research firm to delve into the many terms surrounding the concept of educating children beyond academic knowledge.

Edge logo

Through its efforts, Edge found that no term was a perfect fit. However, it concluded that the two terms—“social and emotional learning” and “social-emotional and academic learning”—were both familiar and consistent to the educating profession, other child-focused venues as well as policymakers. Not only was social and emotional learning (SEL) familiar and consistent to educators, child-focused leaders and policymakers, but that it was of high priority for these entities.

These groups, accompanied by parents and family members do question however, the training efforts for such professionals to encourage the development and implementation of SEL skills. These questions of training efforts lead to questions of evaluation as the parents reinforced the importance of academics.

In addition to this work, Edge also explored the varying rationales or “frames” involved in SEL with children and youth. The results concluded that educators, policymakers and afterschool leaders alike are invested in the benefit brought to the children through SEL efforts in practice.

Edge describes the research methods and findings based on “desktop research, interviews with 45 field leaders, an online survey of 1,600 professionals (e.g. leaders in afterschool and K-12 education as well as education policymakers), and six focus groups of parents in Boston, Dallas and Oakland, California.”

Also through these findings, Wallace notes two caveats: “The foundation is not suggesting a “one-size-fits-all” approach to terminology or framing; rather, it believes local context should be taken into account. And while the research probed for partisan associations, it was not designed to be a thorough analysis of the political landscape for policies affecting SEL.”

Explore further webinar and slide materials here.


Brief

New Initiative to Promote Social and Emotional Learning

From Staff, CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning)

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