Teacher professional development associated with classroom-management strategies has proved to be particularly challenging in high-poverty schools working to emphasize the importance of social and emotional learning (SEL). Participation in weekly classroom-based, positive youth development (PYD) program sessions, facilitated by social workers, contributes to the repertoire of students’ social and emotional skills. Surprisingly, a closer examination of qualitative results from a mixed-methods longitudinal study suggests that when teachers and social workers share the classroom during the PYD program implementation, there is a positive shift in adults’ perceptions of students. As teachers and social workers observed each other working with students, their repertoire of SEL-associated classroom-management strategies expanded and positively overflowed into the school culture. This case study suggests a theoretical shift to consider interdisciplinary professional development that shares power and incorporates situational peer mentoring for teachers and social workers. Five implementation strategies are identified for optimizing outcomes.
Project: Service Learning in Middle School