As Stephanie M. Jones and Suzanne M. Bouffard of the Harvard Graduate School of Education wrote in their excellent study of effectiveness and adaption in the Social Police Report of the Society for Research in Child Development:
“Perhaps most importantly, and often overlooked, is the fact that SEL programs are rarely integrated into classrooms and schools in ways that are meaningful, sustained, and embedded in the day-to-day interactions of students, educators, and school staff.
“Indeed, evaluation research on SEL programs rarely includes a careful description of implementation benchmarks or fidelity (Domitrovich & Greenberg, 2000), but SEL programs typically occupy a half-hour lesson on a weekly or monthly basis (e.g., Jones, Brown, Hoglund, & Aber, 2010).
“Like academic skills, social and emotional skills develop over time and in a continuously staged fashion so they must be continuously developed. Even more than academic skills, they must develop in the context of daily life as social challenges and other teaching opportunities arise.
“As a result, schools cannot meaningfully teach and reinforce SEL skills during one half-hour per week any more than parents can build these skills during one weekly conversation.”
Along with their call for comprehensive EQ implementation, the writers wisely advocate for a goal of preparing all teachers for such curricula and for professional development in implementing programs and practices for school administrators. Other experts call for training of all school staff in order to create an integrated EQ culture within the school, noting the positive personal effects on teachers, administrators and general staff as well as on the quality of the school experience and environment.
Child development experts and researchers are still working on discovering all the practices that deliver the most impact, the sequence they should be delivered, and with what dosage. Shifting from lessons and curricula to a more integrated and embedded approach represents the exciting vanguard of the field.
Of course, none of the desirable outcomes will happen very soon without major public support for moving forward on emotional intelligence implementation and research!