Current Research and Future Directions in Social Emotional Learning

Integrating trauma-sensitive schools and social and emotional learning

teacher working with 2 students at a table
Safe, equitable, and engaging learning environments can prevent and mitigate the effects of trauma and help students build skills that foster reslience en route to lifelong thriving.

The majority of youth in the United States will be exposed to at least one traumatic event before the age of 18; many will be exposed to multiple traumatic experiences. Schools that provide safe, equitable, and engaging learning environments can prevent and mitigate the effects of trauma and help students build skills that foster resilience; enable them to address the causes of trauma, individually and collectively; and avoid inequity and trauma across school communities.  

According to David Osher, Kathleen Guarino, Wehmah Jones, and Mara Schanfield at the American Institutes for Research, co-authors of Trauma-Sensitive Schools and Social and Emotional Learning: An Integration, integrating school-wide social and emotional learning (SEL) and trauma-sensitive schools (TSS) supports a holistic approach to meeting student needs and advancing educational equity, particularly when aimed at individual skill-building, agency, and conditions that support well-being. In this new issue brief, the authors examine ways in which schoolwide SEL and TSS can be integrated and expanded with equity efforts to create safe, supportive, and culturally-responsive schools that prevent school-related trauma and foster robust equity and transformative learning. 

Download the issue brief: Trauma-Sensitive Schools and Social and Emotional Learning: An Integration

This brief is the latest in a new series of issue briefs on future directions in social and emotional learning and education. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is supporting this work.