Collaborative for Academic, Social,
and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
Research and Innovation
Our Basic Instinct
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) mission is to help educators and policy makers establish evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) as an integral part of education from preschool through high school. As part of this mission, CASEL evaluates and identifies widely accessed SEL programs in the field to promote high-quality, evidence-based curriculum and lessons.
The CASEL Framework for SEL consists of the following five core competencies:
- Self-Awareness: the ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.
- Self-Management: the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.
- Social Awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
- Relationship Skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.
- Responsible Decision-making Skills: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.
Research has shown that social and emotional development can be fostered, and social and emotional skills, attitudes, and behaviors can be taught using a variety of approaches following the SAFE model:
- Sequenced: Connected and coordinated activities to foster skills development.
- Active: Active forms of learning to help students master new skills and attitudes.
- Focused: A component that emphasizes developing personal and social skills.
- Explicit: Targeting specific social and emotional skills.
More than two decades of research demonstrates that education promoting social and emotional learning (SEL) gets results. Importantly, research indicates that SEL programming can have a positive impact up to 18 years later on in academics, conduct problems, emotional distress, and drug use.
Generation Text is a teaching and learning framework that focuses on personal choice, personal responsibility and personal transformation and aligns with the Five Core Competencies of the CASEL Framework. The Generation Text Framework offers over 50 modules that present real world issues confronting students. These modules are presented within learning approaches that align with the SAFE model advocated by CASEL and can be used to supplement and enrich an existing CASEL based program.
Using the Generation Text modules, instructional staff are guided in the creation of classroom environments that are respectful, well organized, and based on an experiential learning approach. With instruction in the establishment of consistent and routine practices, teaching staff are assisted in the creation of classroom cultures of learning and achievement characterized by improved student behaviors, enhanced student time on task, and increased student outcomes.
Generation Text modules utilize active listening strategies as a foundation for communicating with students. Inquiry based instruction, active discussions, and high-interest exercises are used to fully engage students in constructivist learning activities.
The focus of these modules is to assist learners in developing their own abilities to look at everyday problems from perspectives they had not previously considered using their newly developed sense of self and social understandings. The instructional cycle of the Generation Text modules provides the learners opportunities to activate their newly gained knowledge as they call upon the learning experiences they engaged in as part of the foundation building exercises within the program.
The inevitability of lifelong learning in knowledge-oriented societies implies that school systems should have different objectives and characteristics than if education were considered to have been completed when a student leaves initial education. Yet in practice, there remains a tendency for school education to be assessed in terms of the achievements and targets that systems have set themselves, rather than their broader success in laying the foundation for lifelong learning.
In the knowledge economy, memorization of facts and procedures is not enough for success. Educated workers need a conceptual understanding of complex concepts, and the ability to work with them creatively to generate new ideas, new theories, new products, and new knowledge. They need to be able critically to evaluate what they read, be able to express themselves clearly both verbally and in writing, and understand scientific and mathematical thinking. They need to learn integrated and usable knowledge, rather than the sets of compartmentalized and de-contextualized facts. They need to be able to take responsibility for their own continuing, life-long learning.
The Learning Sciences Argument
When learning scientists (Sawyer, 2006) first went into classrooms, they discovered that most schools were not teaching the deep knowledge that underlies knowledge work. By the 1980s, cognitive scientists had discovered that children retain material better, and are able to generalize it to a broader range of contexts, when they learn deep knowledge rather than surface knowledge, and when they learn how to use that knowledge in real-world social and practical settings. Thus, learning scientists began to argue that standard model schools were not aligned with the knowledge economy.
A set of key findings has emerged from learning sciences research: the importance of learning deeper conceptual understanding, rather than superficial facts and procedures, the importance of learning connected and coherent knowledge, rather than knowledge compartmentalized into distinct subjects and courses, the importance of learning authentic knowledge in its context of use, rather than decontextualized classroom exercises and the importance of learning collaboratively, rather than in isolation. Traditional models of schooling which are not in line with these key findings and, so runs this argument, are thus not well suited to our knowledge economies and societies. Therefore, learning scientists are calling for a change of today’s schools.
The driving force behind this Generation Text Framework is the concept that in order for people to exercise these communication and leadership skills in a real world application, the individual skills must build a foundation of deep knowledge that underlies work surface knowledge. This foundation is built as a result of routine and consistence practice of respect, active listening, empathy, compassion, trust, inclusion and understanding of how their choices affect others. These skills allow learners to approach problems with deep knowledge and understanding of the factors that play into human interactions and physiological reactions. The approach in which Generation Text takes and the methods Generation Text uses to build the foundation confirms the research of Center for Educational Research and Innovation.
The design of the Generation Text Program which incorporates values based education in a 21st Century context guides the learner in the process of how to work with and inspire others. The Generation Text Framework is designed to guide educators in the importance of learning collaboratively, rather than in isolation in order to generate new ideas, new theories, new products, and new knowledge. The Generation Text Framework guides educators in how to provide students conceptual understanding, rather than superficial facts and procedures. This design and framework is confirmed in the research of Center for Educational Research and Innovation.
Generation Text is not a scripted program but rather a framework that was designed to be infused throughout daily teaching and learning within all existing curriculum being implemented in a classroom. The foundation is comprised of modules, each module is built upon the module before. This stackable program allows for connected and coherent knowledge, rather than knowledge compartmentalized into distinct subjects and courses practice again confirming the research of the Center for Educational Research and Innovation.
According to PISA, school systems are not outstandingly successful in preparing students for the kinds of abilities and skills that build the foundation for lifelong learning. PISA attainments shed light on this question as they are based on a dynamic model in which new knowledge and skills necessary for successful adaptation to a changing world are continuously acquired throughout life (PISA, 2003b), rather than measuring achievement in terms of specific curricula. With its focus on reading, mathematical and scientific literacy, PISA emphasizes the mastery of processes, the understanding of concepts, and the ability to function in different situations in each domain, rather than the possession of specific knowledge.
For instance, in only 5 OECD countries do more than two-thirds of young people reach or surpass PISA level 3 in reading literacy at the level which involves comprehension and interpretation of moderately complex text. (The 5 countries are: Canada, Finland, Ireland, Korea, and New Zealand.) The average across OECD countries is 57.1% attaining level 3 or above. In 17 OECD countries, 40% or more do not.
PISA has measured the outcomes of education systems at the end of compulsory schooling and related factors every three years since 2000, involving well over 1 million 15-year-olds surveyed and over 60 countries achieve at the level 3 threshold in reading literacy, and these low-performing students are in the majority in four of these countries. The countries which have 40% or more achieving at best at level 2 are Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. They are the majority of students in Greece, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, and Turkey. [PISA2006, Chapter6]Regarding problem-solving, around a fifth of the students in all OECD countries in 2003 could be considered reflective, communicative problem-solvers who are able to analyze a situation, make decisions and manage multiple conditions simultaneously, with just under a third being reasoning, decision-making problem-solvers and a third counted as basic problem solvers. This leaves around 16 % considered as weak or emergent problem-solvers, who are generally unable to analyze situations or solve problems that call for more than the direct collection of information.
Hence, the PISA results provide a prime facie case in that too many students are not well prepared for the knowledge society in terms of the different literacies and problem-solving abilities. These arguments are supported by many analysts working in the learning sciences.
PISA on Approaches to Learning
Are your students learning the skills that will allow them to be resilient in a 21st Century world? Are your learning approaches equipping them to become successful lifelong learners?
The Programme for International Student Assessment findings show that there is a positive association between students’ performance and their approaches to learning, such as their motivation to learn, their beliefs about their own abilities and their learning strategies. These learning approaches are not only associated with success but can also be viewed as an educational outcome on its own: once students leave school, they have to manage most of their own learning. To do this, they need to be able to establish goals, to persevere, to monitor their learning process, to adjust their learning strategies as necessary and to overcome difficulties in learning. Students who leave school with the autonomy to set their own learning goals are better equipped to become successful lifelong learners. PISA shows that there is a large variation in learner characteristics among students in each school. Relatively few schools succeed in promoting particularly strong approaches to learning among their students. This underlines the importance for schools and teachers to be able to engage constructively with heterogeneity not only in student abilities but also in their characteristics as learners and their approaches to learning.
PISA shows how important positive approaches to learning are for successful and lifelong learning. As argued above, they give rise to concern that many countries are not well prepared for the knowledge to ask the question, if the traditional way of learning in many countries, is adequate for the 21st century world.
These Generation Text modules take a technological approach to learning by using media and technology to present the conflict, the issue or the problem. This learning approach is relatable to the learner and the module allows them to practice different strategies to achieve their desired outcome. The strategies empower the learner to solve issues they once were not able to solve. This success builds motivation for learning, confirming the research presented by the Programme for International Student Assessment.
Glasser was also notable for applying his theories to broader social issues, such as education, management, and marriage, to name a few. Glasser notably deviated from conventional psychiatrists by warning the general public about the potential detriments caused by the profession of psychiatry in its traditional form because of the common goal to diagnose a patient with a mental illness and prescribe medications to treat the particular illness when, in fact, the patient may simply be acting out of unhappiness, not a brain disorder. Glasser advocated the consideration of mental health as a public health issue.
- The only person whose behavior we can control is our own.
- All we can give another person is information.
- All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems.
- The problem relationship is always part of our present life.
- What happened in the past has everything to do with what we are today, but we can only satisfy our basic needs right now and plan to continue satisfying them in the future.
- We can only satisfy our needs by satisfying the pictures in our Quality World.
- All we do is behave.
- All behavior is Total Behavior and is made up of four components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology.
- All Total Behavior is chosen, but we only have direct control over the acting and thinking components. We can only control our feeling and physiology indirectly through how we choose to act and think.
- All Total Behavior is designated by verbs and named by the part that is the most recognizable.
Choice Theory, developed by William Glasser, MD., provides an explanation of motivation which is markedly different from what many of us have been taught. A central aspect of Choice Theory is the belief that we are internally, not externally motivated. While other theories suggest that outside events cause us to behave in certain predictable ways, Choice Theory teaches that outside events never make us to do anything. What drives our behavior are internally developed notions of what is most important and satisfying to us. Our Quality World Pictures, these internally created notions of how we would like things to be, are related to certain Basic Needs built into the genetic structure of every human being. The Basic Needs which provide the foundation for all motivation are: to be loving and connected to others; to achieve a sense of competence and personal power; to act with a degree of freedom and autonomy; to experience joy and fun; and to survive.
Another major concept in Choice Theory is the notion that we always have some choice about how to behave. This does not mean that we have unlimited choice or that outside information is irrelevant as we choose how to behave. It means that we have more control than some people might believe and that we are responsible for the choices we make.
Knowingly or not, humans constantly compare their perception of the world with how they would like it to be, their current Quality World picture. Consciously or not, they determine if their current behavior is the best available choice to take them in the direction they want to go. When people learn to apply the principles of Choice Theory, they are taught how to more consciously self-evaluate so that the behaviors they choose have the best chance of helping them achieve what they want in ways that are responsible.
These Eight Essential Questions directs the learner to look at internal factors as motivation of how people act and react, and therefore the learner becomes more skilled and proficient in applying the concepts when making choices. This framework confirms the research of William Glasser’s Choice Theory by guiding the learner to more consciously self-evaluate so that the behaviors they choose have the best chance of achieving their desired outcome.
In the 5th module of the Generation Text Framework, the Eight Essential questions require the learner to look at whether or not we can control other people’s actions, choices and behavior. Because theGeneration Text program was developed for a 21st century context, the concept of controlling one’s behavior is introduced in the form of a question. This inquiry based instruction strategy requires the learner to reflect on their own experiences and to acknowledge that the only person’s behavior or choices they can control is their our own. This concept confirms the research presented in the 10 Axioms presented in Glasser’s Choice Theory. This is an extremely important concept to consider when making choices that will result in successful problem solving and resolution of conflict.
Generation Text Online believes that the most powerful concept behind our framework is the idea that the only solution to ending intolerance, discrimination, bullying, harassment and intimidation is to change people’s thinking. This concept of changing thinking patterns as a pathway to making different choices confirms the research of Dr. William Glasser. Generation Text Framework provides a foundation of active listening, respect, inclusion and exercises that guide learners into reflection, therefore having an opportunity for experiential learning. This experience guides the learner in different thinking patterns which lead to the foresight to make different choices. These exercises guide learners to assess their own thinking and actions and how those affect others both emotionally and physiology. This foundation confirms the reach of Glasser which states that all behavior is Total Behavior and is made up of four components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology.
This response is recognized as the first stage of the General Adaptation Syndrome that regulates stress responses among vertebrates and other organisms.
The reaction begins in the amygdala, which triggers a neural response in the hypothalamus. The initial reaction is followed by activation of the pituitary gland and secretion of the hormone ACTH. The adrenal gland is activated almost simultaneously and releases the neurotransmitter epinephrine. The release of chemical messengers results in the production of the hormone cortisol, which increases blood pressure, blood sugar, and suppresses the immune system. The initial response and subsequent reactions are triggered in an effort to create a boost of energy. This boost of energy is activated by epinephrine binding to liver cells and the subsequent production of glucose. Additionally, the circulation of cortisol functions to turn fatty acids into available energy, which prepares muscles throughout the body for response. Catecholamine hormones, such as adrenaline (epinephrine) or noradrenaline (norepinephrine), facilitate immediate physical reactions associated with a preparation for violent muscular action. These include the following:
- Acceleration of heart and lung action
- Paling or flushing, or alternating between both
- Inhibition of stomach and upper-intestinal action to the point where digestion slows down or stops
- General effect on the sphincters of the body
- Constriction of blood vessels in many parts of the body
- Liberation of metabolic energy sources (particularly fat and glycogen) for muscular action
- Dilation of blood vessels for muscles
- Inhibition of the lacrimal gland (responsible for tear production) and salivation
- Dilation of pupil (mydriasis)
- Relaxation of bladder
- Inhibition of erection
- Auditory exclusion (loss of hearing)
- Tunnel vision (loss of peripheral vision)
- Disinhibition of spinal reflexes
Most character education, PBIS and bullying programs are taught in a controlled environment where an adult is teaching students how to react in a bullying or cyberbullying event. Our observations noted that the solutions presented by many of these school programs did not take into consideration the physiological reaction by each person involved in a real life conflict, void of any adult presence. Our practical experience allowed the Generation Text Online developers to observe what happens to a victim or a target of disrespectful behavior, name calling, bullying, intimidation or harassment. Most of the time, children and adults were not able to stand up or protect themselves, as they had learned in a classroom. Common solutions presented to children such as telling an aggressor to stop were not effective in practicum.
Our observations included hundreds of real life situations in various socio economic situations, ages and various degrees of education. When students that were threatened emotionally, socially or physically (or threat or harm was perceived by the student) these students were not able to defend themselves nor were they able to ignore it. In almost every situation the target or victim reacted or retaliated, escalating the problem. In many of these situations, we witnessed children responding to the direction of trusted adults to stand up for others, only to put themselves in harms way or to be retaliated against by the perpetrators.
The Generation Text Online Framework guides each learner that the only successful way of dealing with a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival is to remove oneself from the situation or area in which the event or attack is taking place. The bystanders learn that Generation Text does not expect them to attempt to stop a bully or an aggressor but to focus their efforts on support, consoling, distracting or removing the target or victim. Generation Text teaches that conflicts are best resolved when each person involved feels safe and unthreatened which confirm the research of the fight or flight response.
A Cause-and-Effect Relationship to Student Achievement
Dr. Marzano’s Teacher Evaluation Model is based on his acclaimed Art and Science of Teaching framework and the meta-analytic research he has conducted over the past several decades.
The first of its kind, this teacher evaluation model is not only based on studies that correlate instructional strategies to student achievement, but is also grounded on experimental/control studies that establish a direct causal link between elements of the model and student results.
The Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model identifies a complete set of practices directly related to improved student performance, organized into four domains that develop teacher expertise.
Each domain builds on the previous one with direct links to create a causal chain that results in increased learning and achievement for all students. This direct causal effect between elements of the model and student achievement is validated by data analysis from experimental/control studies.
The leading expert in developing teacher effectiveness Research base and validation studies for the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model:
- More than 5,000 studies across five decades
- More than 2 million books distributed to K-12 educators across the nation
- Correlation studies that connect teaching practices to student achievement
- Causation studies that establish a direct link between the model and student results
Marzanos Nine high yield instructional strategies
- Setting objectives and providing feedback – provide students with the direction for learning and with information about how well they are performing relative to a particular learning objective so they can improve their performance.
- Reinforcing effort and providing recognition – enhance students’ understanding of the relationship between effort and achievement by addressing students attitudes and beliefs about learning. Provide students with abstract tokens of recognition or praise for there a complement accomplishments related to the attainment of a goal.
- Cooperative learning – provide students with opportunities to interact with one another in ways that it has their learning.
- Cues, questions and advance organizers – enhance students ability to retrieve use and organize what they already know about a topic.
- Nonlanguage linguistic representations – enhance student’s ability to represent an elaborate On knowledge using mental images.
- Summarizing and note taking – enhance students ability to synthesize information and organize it in a way that captures the main ideas and supporting details.
- Assigning homework and providing practice – extend the learning opportunities for students to practice review and apply knowledge. Enhance students ability to reach the expected level of proficiency for a skill or process.
- Identifying similarities and differences – enhance students understanding of an ability to use knowledge by engaging them and mental processes that involve identifying ways in which items are alike and different.
- Generating and testing hypothesis – enhanced understanding of the inability to use knowledge by gauging them and mental processes that involve making a testing hypothesis.
The Generation Text Framework is organized by modules. The first 5 modules activate learning in order to build relationships and learn communication skills. Each module provides clear and concise learning objectives. These clearly stated objectives allow the learner to understand if they have comprehended the theories. As confirmed by the research of Marzano, this allows the student to understand how well they are performing relative to the learning objective. The remaining 10 modules in each age group set objectives for applying the concepts in common and age appropriate situations.
TheGeneration Text Framework uses 21st century learning strategies including inquiry based instruction and interactive discussion. This learning technique confirms the research of Marzano by guiding the teacher to give recognition to ideas, thoughts and resolutions. The teaching techniques allow for differentiated instruction and allows for recognition as students participate. The framework understands that student participation may be inhibited as a result of a lack of trust within the classroom, therefore Generation Text modules intentionally provide students with an opportunity to experience routine empathy and compassion which allows an opportunity to build trust. As confirmed in the research of Marzano, facilitated discussion allows for direct positive feedback and praise for ideas and connections.
The Generation Text Framework is built off a model of student interaction and engagement. The teacher facilitates appreciative inquiry with students and guides them in building on each other’s ideas. The teaching framework requires students to sit in a circle to encourage cooperative learning, while still being facilitated by the teacher. These strategies allow for successful learning as confirmed in the research of Marzano. The teacher’s role is to recognize students’ misunderstandings of various concepts or ideas that align with old thinking patterns and models that prove to be ineffective. Cooperative learning in theGeneration Text Framework is specific and purposeful.
The Generation Text Framework uses images throughout the curriculum in order to support teacher in ease of use. As confirmed in the research of Marzano, the videos, screen shots and images throughout the Generation Text learning approach supports 21st learners and provides mental images to support application of concepts in practicum.
As confirmed in the research by Marzano, the Generation Text Framework provides practice of deep base knowledge by providing homework assignments, which include reflective writing assignments and research assignments that require students to use technology. By providing numerous modules with common, age appropriate conflict, these additional lessons allow for the practice of the skills learned.
Module 4 has a very specific and purposeful intent which is to identify similarities and differences. While the initial reaction to this module by educators is that this module seems juvenile, the concept confirms the research by Marzano and to provide learners the ability to use knowledge by engaging them in identifying the various circumstances in which 2 actions are similar and different. Finally, the Generation Text Framework requires learners to rely on their new thinking patterns to predict hypothesis related to cause and effect. As confirmed by Marzano, it is imperative that we engage learners in a mental process of not only generating a hypothesis (how someone will react) but testing that hypothesis as well.
Domain 1: Planning and Preparation
1a Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy
1b Demonstrating Knowledge of Students
1c Setting Instructional Outcomes
1d Demonstrating Knowledge of Resources
1e Designing Coherent Instruction
1f Designing Student Assessments
Domain 2: Classroom Environment
2a Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport
2b Establishing a Culture for Learning
2c Managing Classroom Procedures
2d Managing Student Behavior
2e Organizing Physical Space
Domain 3: Instruction
3a Communicating with Students
3b Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques
3c Engaging Students in Learning
3d Using Assessment in Instruction
3e Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness
Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities
4a Reflecting on Teaching
4b Maintaining Accurate Records
4c Communicating with Families
4d Participating in the Professional Community
4e Growing and Developing Professionally
4f Showing Professionalism
Generation Text provides the tools to allow teaching staff to prepare for instruction by demonstrating knowledge of students by guiding instructional staff in consistent and routine practice of the first two modules in the program. These modules allow an opportunity to create a classroom environment that is respectful, manages student behavior, and promotes classroom procedures. These modules guide the instructional staff in how to organize the physical space of the classroom to promote staying on task and allows of an experiential learning approach to establish a culture of learning and achievement. Modules 1 and 2 provide the strategies and techniques presented in the first 2 domains in the Danielson framework for teaching, which has been adapted by a large number of school districts across America.
The third domain in the Danielson framework focuses on successful instruction techniques. As confirmed in the research of Danielson, Generation Text focuses on active listening as a foundation for communicating with students, using inquiry based instruction and discussion style of instruction and activities and exercises that engage students in learning. Throughout each learning plan, teachers are using questions to check for learning and assess understanding of how to apply the knowledge base to real life problem solving projects. Teachers are provided professional development to learn how to be responsive and flexible in their instruction. As confirmed in the research of Danielson, Generation Text promotes the elements of professional responsibility by providing online assessment for teachers to reflect, as well as provides learning activities for Professional Learning Communities, which promote consistent growing and developing professionally. Generation Text also aligns with Danielson in the areas of communicating, engaging and partnering with families. Generation Text has a parent component in the modules to allow the parent to be an active learning participant.
- Scaffolding student learning to provide a strong knowledge base on which new ideas and concepts are stacked
- Holding all students to high expectations, which promotes greater student achievement and growth
- Incorporating the latest research on how students learn to read to help close the literacy gap
- Employing both the traditional method of teaching math and conceptual strategies to provide students with a strong understanding of math and the skills to apply it
- Increasing the opportunities for students to learn from their peers and collaborate on assignments, which improves learning and interpersonal skills
- Promoting problem- and project-based learning, which leads to a deeper understanding of concepts
The Common Core was designed to raise the bar for student achievement in the United States. The standards enjoy strong support from a diverse coalition of leaders from the civil rights, business, military, teacher, school administrator, and parent communities. If teachers and students are supported with high-quality curricula and instructional materials, a properly implemented Common Core will help prepare students to be complex problem solvers, as well as critical thinkers and readers. These six research-based practices get to the heart of how the Common Core will make that goal a reality for all students.