A profile is given for each participant using the participants’ responses from the questionnaires and the qualitative data to highlight the unique experiences of each participant. Then, the study results are presented and summarized through the four research questions.
Teacher One showed an improvement in perception toward the feasibility of using SEL and working with trauma-impacted students. According to the qualitative data, this teacher went from using the 2C SEL program once per week at week four to twice per week at week seven, supporting an improved perception of feasibility and comfort level. Based on the researcher’s field notes, this teacher showed an eagerness to learn and help the students and actively sought out interventions and activities. Teacher One showed an improvement from the pre- to the post-TSR. This finding is supported by the qualitative data, which showed that the teacher felt that at week four, communication was ‘somewhat improving’ with the students, but by week seven, communication with the students had improved ‘a lot’, and the students were self-regulating ‘a lot better’. The teacher felt satisfied with the classroom environment at the end of the 10 weeks, stating, “I am satisfied with their behavior. I think that it is on me to make sure that the class environment is welcoming, and I feel that I have pretty good classroom management.” The teacher believed that the students were self-regulating, and that this ability was contributing to maintaining their stress levels. This teacher felt that the student learning outcomes had not improved but neither had they deteriorated. The teacher’s feelings about the learning outcomes were poignantly expressed: “It feels like we are stuck or frozen in regard to student learning outcomes. I think it will be better when we return to in-person learning.”
Teacher Two showed a significant improvement from pre- to post-TP. The teacher indicated in the modeling session checklist that he or she consistently used the 2C SEL once per week in the classroom. The teacher stated that he or she was consistently comfortable using SEL. This teacher invited the researcher to model sessions and to work with the class. The teacher told the researcher that the students “truly need this”. The TSR for Teacher Two showed improvement from the pre- to the postassessment, which aligned with the qualitative data in which the teacher indicated that student communication improved more by the seventh week compared to week four. The teacher stated that he or she was satisfied with the classroom environment and took responsibility for its outcomes: “I am fairly satisfied. I think much of it depends on me”.
Teachers’ perceptions of SEL feasibility and the ability to work with trauma-impacted students were reduced for Teacher Three. This teacher indicated discomfort with SEL at the beginning of the intervention, and he or she stated that they were not using SEL at week four. By week seven, the teacher stated that he or she had begun using SEL at least once a week, but he or she was still uncomfortable using it. This teacher’s discomfort with SEL coincided with the reduced perception of feasibility and the ability to work with trauma-impacted students. The teacher indicated that he or she was satisfied with the classroom environment and student behavior at week four of the study and indicated less satisfaction at week seven. The inability to easily use SEL may have contributed to this result. The teacher was also ambivalent about the student learning outcomes and stress at the end of the ten weeks.
The TSR Scale pre- and postassessments remained the same for Teacher Four. The teacher perceived relatively strong relationships with the students that were maintained. The scale results were supported by the qualitative data in which the teacher indicated improvement in communication with the students from week four to week seven. The teacher also felt that the students could self-regulate, and skills had improved throughout the intervention. While the qualitative data indicated that the teacher periodically used SEL in the classroom and he or she was only somewhat comfortable with its use, the TP Scale showed a decrease from pre- to postassessment. The teacher felt that the student learning outcomes were progressing poorly, yet the students were “amazing”. The teacher seemed happy with the students regardless of the struggles with engagement and productivity. This teacher showed discomfort with SEL use and did not use it regularly; coincidentally, the teacher felt that the student academic outcomes were poor.
This teacher indicated that he or she used SEL daily. He or she felt that because the students were younger, they had a greater need to learn coping and behavioral skills. The teacher tried more to manage classroom behavior than to focus on academics. The qualitative data indicated that by week seven, the teacher felt communication with the students improved considerably, and the students self-regulated considerably better and controlled their emotions. While the teacher perceived the relationships with the students as improving, as indicated by the qualitative data, the TSR Scale for Teacher 5 showed a decrease in the teacher–student relationship between the pre- and postassessment. Based on the pre- and post-TP scales, the teacher maintained his or her perception of SEL feasibility in the classroom. This perception was confirmed by the weekly use of the SEL. The teacher expressed that he or she was satisfied with the classroom outcomes, as the teacher stated that the students were “engaged online using online programs and technology”. This teacher indicated that the student grades were average, which may have contributed to the satisfaction in the classroom outcomes. However, the students were still stressed according to the teacher.
This teacher consistently used SEL in the classroom twice per week during the 10 weeks. According to the qualitative data, the teacher slowly increased in comfort level when using SEL. Accordingly, the TP score improved from pre- to postassessment. This teacher indicated that he or she did not have knowledge of the term SEL in the preassessment; therefore, the change in understanding of SEL and use of the SEL program was progress for this teacher. Although the teacher’s perception of SEL feasibility and the ability to work with trauma-impacted students improved, the TSR score decreased from pre- to postassessment. This finding may be related to the teacher’s lack of satisfaction with the classroom outcomes, as he or she stated, “it could be better.” The teacher felt that the student-learning outcomes were very slow and that the students were not engaged, which could mean that the teacher felt a lack of communication and connection, resulting in the TSR score.
Each teacher showed primarily positive results. The following section presents the study results synthesized according to the research questions.
Research Question One
The first research question was do teachers’ perceptions about working with trauma-impacted students improve after completing the 10-week intervention. The pre- and post-TP scale scores were used to measure the change in the teachers’ perceptions about SEL and their abilities to work with trauma-impacted students after working through the study's 2C intervention process. The TP change for each teacher is depicted in Fig. 1. The teachers’ perceptions of SEL and working with trauma-impacted students were also evaluated through the modeling session checklist responses, as the participants indicated their comfort levels and how often they used the 2C SEL with their students.
Three teachers showed improvements in TP, and one maintained. Two teachers showed a reduction in TP. The average TP changed positively between the pre- (M = 2.36, SD = .31) and the postscore (M = 2.46, SD = .37), with a mean before and after difference of 0.10. The effect size of the intervention was small (0.3) using Cohen’s D statistics. Although the effect size was small, the improvement in teachers’ perceptions about the feasibility of using SEL and working with trauma-impacted students was supported by the qualitative data indicating that most teachers felt that their students were able to self-regulate and that they all increased their use of 2C SEL.
The researcher’s field notes may reveal a reason for the decrease in TP for certain teachers. The student SEL lesson videos received many views, which indicated that the teachers used the videos to help with student wellness. However, in the last three weeks, the lesson video views plummeted, which might be attributed to the increase in the stress the teachers experienced. This finding is because, according to the researcher's field notes, the last three weeks of the study also showed an increase in administration and teacher conflicts. During this time, the school site also experienced an increasing number of COVID-19 cases. Therefore, the teacher focus was not on the SEL emails or lessons at this time. The fact that the postassessments were completed during this critical time may have also impacted the participant responses. The field notes’ themes indicated that the organizational climate contributed to teacher stress and created a threat to the system. Teacher wellness was an important theme that emerged, and it seemed to impact the teachers using the SEL lessons.
Research Question Two
The second research question was how can we characterize teacher–student relationships after the 10-week intervention. The change in teacher–student relationships for each teacher is depicted in Fig. 2. Data from the modeling session checklist also supported the results for each teacher’s TSR score. The average score declined between the pre- (M = 3.65, SD = .30) and the postscore (M = 3.53, SD = .29), with a mean before and after difference of 0.12. The effect size of the intervention was calculated using Cohen’s D statistical analysis. The effect size was found to be small (0.4). Although the average teacher–student relationship slightly declined, it started strong and remained relatively strong with a very small change. Overall, most of the teachers indicated that their communications with the students increased. However, the researcher’s field notes indicated that the teachers struggled to engage the students, which may be connected to the teachers’ abilities to build relationships with their students. The school administration also pressured the teachers to engage the students, as noted in the researcher’s field notes. The teacher–student relationship decrease may also be attributed to teacher stress. Based on the researcher’s field notes, during the entire 10 weeks, a consistent theme was teacher wellness. The teachers showed interest in self-care and appreciated the weekly emails on staff wellness sent to them. Therefore, teacher stress may have been extensive, and they likely needed and sought help with wellness and self-care.
Research Question Three
The third research question was to what extent do student stress and academic performance change after the 10-week intervention. This question was assessed using a Student Outcomes Survey (SOS) pre- and postintervention. The SOS had two quantitative and four qualitative questions. The quantitative and qualitative data helped triangulate the findings on the student and classroom outcomes.
The quantitative questions asked about student grades and student stress on a 4-point Likert-type scale. The two questions were as follows:
- “What are your overall student grades like?”
- “How stressed are your students?”
Most of the teachers (83.4%) responded that their student grades needed improvement or were average in both the pre- (M = 2.83, SD = .41) and the postassessment (M = 2.50, SD = .84). The teachers also thought that their students were either somewhat or mostly stressed in both the pre- (M = 2.50, SD = .84) and the postassessment (M = 2.50, SD = .84). Therefore, the quantitative data indicated that the intervention did not improve student grades or stress; however, grades and stress levels were maintained (i.e., they did not deteriorate).
The qualitative data were open-ended survey responses for the student outcomes. The qualitative data triangulated the quantitative data for the student outcome participant responses. The participants responded to four open-ended questions on the student outcomes analyzed using emergent coding. The codes were confirmed by three coders. Both the pre- and post-SOS survey results showed one consistent theme: Student learning progress was slow. This finding supported the quantitative results that the teachers thought the student grades were average or needed improvement. The qualitative data indicated that the teachers thought the students were engaged in learning when the teachers provided support and online learning accommodations. The postassessment also indicated that active engagement occurred through teacher-facilitated technology use and collaborative work.
Another theme from the preassessment's emergent coding was that the students learned to self-regulate as a whole class, and the younger students needed extra support. Therefore, the teachers sought additional help for the younger students, which this intervention provided. The analysis of the postassessment indicated that the students could self-regulate despite challenges, which indicated the lack of change in student stress levels in the quantitative data. This finding also indicates that the SEL lessons the teachers used with their classes helped, and the students could manage their stress levels so they did not increase.
Research Question 4
The fourth outcome evaluation research question was does teacher satisfaction with classroom outcomes improve after 10-week intervention. Teacher satisfaction with classroom outcomes was evaluated through the qualitative data from the SOS, modeling session checklists, and the researcher’s field notes. A theme that emerged from both the pre- and post-SOS qualitative survey questions was that the teachers were satisfied with their classroom environments, considering the pandemic. Although the teachers responded that the student learning progress was slow, the teachers reflected that the students were engaged in the teachers’ efforts and self-regulating. These findings might be reasons the teachers were satisfied with their classroom outcomes. The teachers were satisfied with behavior and classroom management despite the slow academic progress of their students. The teachers thought the slow progress was due to the pandemic and believed it was acceptable because of uncontrollable circumstances.
However, the researcher’s field notes reflected how the teachers struggled with classroom engagement. The teachers expressed concerns that it was difficult to maintain student engagement due to distance-learning dynamics. Despite this observation, teacher–student relationships were indicated to be relatively strong, according to the post-TSR Scale (M = 3.53, SD = .29). The teachers’ understanding of mindfulness and community circle practices, along with their perceptions of the students’ ability to self-regulate, showed confidence increases, according to Modeling Session Checklists 1 (M = 2.57, SD = .65) and 2 (M = 2.89, SD = .47). These findings might be further reasons the teachers felt satisfied with their classrooms.