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Connecting Emotions To Education At Berner

Connecting Emotions to Education at Berner

Emotional intelligence plays a significant role in education, and the district will be incorporating the Yale RULER approach into the curriculum to better address social and emotional needs in the school setting.

RULER, an evidence-based approach to emotional intelligence, will be piloted at Berner Middle School with the goal of eventually expanding to all schools in the district. Several Berner administrators, teachers and support staff members have already been trained through Yale University.  By the end of this school year, the entire Berner administrative team will have attended RULER training at the Center for Emotional Intelligence at Yale University.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. In education, it creates empathy, accountability, respect and trust. RULER stands for: recognizing emotions in self and others; understanding the causes and consequences of emotions; labeling emotions accurately; expressing emotions appropriately; and regulating emotions effectively.

Berner Principal Jason Esposito explained that RULER is not a program, but an approach that is embedded into daily teaching practices. “The purpose is to ensure that students feel comfortable in sharing their emotions and feelings. A strong support system helps students perform better academically, develop leadership skills, manage stress and create meaningful relationships.”

Executive Assistant to the Principal Barbara Lowell cited the importance of administrators setting the right tone and investing in the staff to create a positive culture.

RULER includes four anchor tools. The school will create an emotional intelligence charter that will be the guiding principle for school culture and climate. Classes will also create their own charters. The mood meter, which features red, yellow, blue and green squares, helps students get in touch with their emotions and express their feelings in an appropriate and meaningful way.

The meta-moment is the time between an action and person’s reaction. Students will be encouraged to take a thoughtful pause so they can “act in a way that shows your best self,” Mr. Esposito said. The blueprint gives students guidelines for solving interpersonal conflicts with empathy and taking into account different perspectives.

“Understanding how to regulate your emotions is a skill that everyone needs,” Mr. Esposito said. “The way you respond to a situation means everything.”

“Yale RULER is a formalized approach to creating a positive learning climate and developing the emotional skills of all adults and students within the school,” Administrative Associate Lisa Silveri said. “What sets this approach apart from other social and emotional learning programs is that it is a mindset and a provides a common language with which everyone in the school community K-12 can talk about their emotions. Using this approach, we are setting the stage for a districtwide approach in the area of social and emotional learning. Together we will create a more effective and compassionate educational community.”