CARE: An Educator SEL Program with Proof
By Mark Greenberg
Emeritus Bennett Chair of Prevention Science, Penn State University, Chair of CREATE (www.createforeducation.org)
Teaching is a very rewarding profession, but it can also be a stressful profession and with the crisis of the current pandemic there has been increased awareness of the stresses faced by educators, including support staff and administrators….and the need to provide quality supports to educators.
Although there are numerous possible approaches to support teachers, as Catherine Gewertz writes in Education Week the CARE Program (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education) has careful scientific proof of its effectiveness for educators. CARE has been the subject of three randomized trials (two in the US; Jennings et al., 2013, Jennings et al., 2017, and one soon to be released in Croatia); one involving urban and rural PA teachers and one in NY City Schools (26 schools in the Bronx). Learn more about CARE and its findings here
What Are the Findings?
These well-controlled studies have shown that CARE leads to improvements in teacher well-being, reductions in teacher stress, and significant improvements in classroom instruction. An extensive study of public elementary school teachers in New York City, showed that CARE not only improves the well-being and resiliency of the teachers, but also improves classroom atmosphere and the quality of instruction. Further, follow-up findings during the next school year showed that teachers who participated in CARE continued to have significant decreases in psychological distress, reductions in ache-related physical distress, continued significant increases in emotion regulation compared to teachers who wanted to participate but were randomized to a waiting-list.
What Are the Key Features of CARE?
Drawing on current findings in the field of neuroscience, CARE offers instruction in cognitive and emotion skills that help reduce stress by promoting understanding, recognition and regulation of emotion. It introduces teachers to mindful awareness practices, beginning with short periods of silent reflection and extending to role-playing and other exercises that bring mindful awareness to the challenging situations teachers often encounter. By practicing these skills, teachers learn to cultivate calmness, awareness, presence, compassion, empathy and ability to listen. Learn more from the voices of teachers.
How is CARE Delivered?
CARE is delivered both Online and Face-to-Face. The new online version of CARE is delivered overtime in a flexible manner – using two-hour segments on Zoom. When CARE is delivered face-to-face it requires 3 days spread out over 2 to 3 months during the school year (online and post-training resources provide additional support).
Jennings. P. A., Snowberg, K. E., Frank, J. L. , Coccia, M. A. & Greenberg, M. T. (2013). Improving classroom learning environments by cultivating awareness and resilience in education (CARE): Results of a randomized controlled trial. School Psychology Quarterly, 28, 374-390.
Jennings, P. A., Brown, J. L., Frank, J. L., Doyle, S., Oh, Y., Davis, R., Rasheed, D., DeWeese, A., DeMauro, A. A., Cham, H., & Greenberg, M. T. (2017). Impacts of the CARE for Teachers Program on teachers’ social and emotional competence and classroom interactions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109, 1010-1028.
Schussler, D. L., DeWeese, A., Rasheed, D., DeMauro, A., Brown, J., Greenberg, M., & Jennings, P. A. (2018). Stress and release: Case studies of teacher resilience following a mindfulness-based intervention. American Journal of Education, 125(1), 1-28.