Wie sozial-emotionale Fähigkeiten von Lehrkräften die sozial-emotionale Entwicklung von Schüler*innen beeinflussen.


Over the course of the past two decades, international comparison studies have strongly increased pressure on national policy leaders to improve student outcomes. In the beginning, efforts solely focused on academic achievement, but over time, the notion that social-emotional learning (SEL) is at least equally important for students’ long-term positive life outcomes has gained acceptance. While evidence-based research has uncovered the most important school-related factors impacting academic achievement, research results on SEL have been less conclusive. Mainstream SEL research and practices primarily focus on the development of intervention programs that apply instructional methods and role playing games during lessons specifically designated to SEL. Evaluation studies of such programs, however, show disappointingly small effects.
This research project proposes the idea that students’ SEL-outcomes are more effectively improved by shifting the focus to teachers’ social-emotional skills and creating high-quality relationship climates in schools. Theoretically, this idea builds on the views of sociologist R. Crosnoe (2011), who argues that social-emotional learning occurs automatically in the context of positive relationship climates. Crosnoe’s views are strongly supported by well-established theories from pedagogy and education research that stress the critical role of high quality relationships with primary care givers in the development of social-emotional skills.
In order to test the main research question – i.e. how teachers’ social-emotional skills translate into better social-emotional development among students – this project applies a mixed methods longitudinal design. It utilizes multilevel structural regression modeling (MSRM) to describe patterns of causal relationships far more complex than what is commonly studied in education and pedagogy research in Germany. This is combined with a qualitative approach developed by the German sociologist and psychoanalyst Alfred Lorenzer (1986), called depth hermeneutics. It is based on insights from group therapy and enables the reconstruction of impact factors of group dynamics and relationships that lie beyond the awareness of the directly involved actors.
Conducting this research project is of critical importance for two reasons. One, research on SEL in schools has so far failed to deliver large positive effects despite significant investment, particularly in the United States. If this project uncovers large effect sizes from teachers’ social-emotional skills on students’ social-emotional learning, it will redefine the role of teachers in secondary schools from simple knowledge conveyors to key caregivers and attachment figures. This would lead to important contributions in the research and practice areas of social-emotional learning, cognitive development, teacher professionalization, and school development. Two, the focus on high-quality relationship experiences in schools is particularly necessary at this time point of increasing social media usage, declines in close and meaningful relationships, and rising tensions between self-isolating ideological and political groups.

Principal Investigators
Dietrich, Lars Dr. (Details) (Pedagogy on psychosocial disabilities)

Duration of Project
Start date: 10/2019
End date: 09/2020

Research Areas
Psychology, Social Sciences

Research Areas
Empirische Bildungsforschung, Schule

Last updated on 2020-08-03 at 21:31