Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Social workers, School social work, Social learning, Affective education, Social and emotional learning, Teachers, Elementary school, SEL, Implementation, Curriculum, Emotional intelligence, Emotions and academic success


Of all of the professions that exist in a school setting, social workers are trained specifically in the three main theoretical tenets of social and emotional learning programs: systems theory, cognitive behavioral theory and psychoanalytic theory. Yet there is little in the literature about what the role of social work should be as a stakeholder in implementing a SEL curriculum. This qualitative research was designed to investigate what could be learned from the practice wisdom of school social workers in elementary schools that have adopted a SEL curriculum about their experiences and the roles they have adopted. This study employed a sample of convenience recruited utilizing a snowball sampling strategy. Major findings were that most social workers in this sample were both consultant/trainers around the system-wide implementation of SEL in schools and spent some time in the classroom delivering the program, either as a co-teacher or alone. Most of these social workers had tremendous freedom/flexibility around determining what their participation would be in their school's SEL program. Regardless of the specific SEL program their school had adopted, these programs tended to be seen as a base that could be augmented by other SEL programs or materials created to meet a specific need.




iv, 54 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 45-49)