06/12/2015 10:24 am ET Updated Jun 12, 2015

HuffPost What's Working Honor Roll: The Case For Teaching Students Emotional Skills, Not Just Academic Ones

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The Seattle Times: Bellevue schools teach emotional smarts to help boost academic success

Elementary school teachers in Bellevue, Washington are finding great success with teaching not just academic skills, but emotional skills to their developing young students.

"They’ve started to teach students about feelings as explicitly as they teach math and reading," Seattle Times education reporter John Higgins writes.

Bellevue joins an increasing number of schools to adopt a method known as RULER, created at Yale University, which trains students and teachers to "Recognize, Understand, Label, Express and Regulate emotions." More and more research now proves the direct link between critical-thinking skills and emotions.

"Studies have shown that students in RULER schools are less anxious, better behaved, more attentive and more independent — with greater leadership skills," Higgins explains.

Across the board, the technique is working. As a result of RULER, suspensions and punishments at schools that have implemented the program are down, test scores and participation is up and students are learning to manage their feelings in a positive way that boosts learning.

This article is part of "Education Lab," a new initiative by The Seattle Times and Solutions Journalism Network to take a solutions-based approach to reporting on education.


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