Teaching emotion regulation in schools: Translating research into practice with the RULER approach to social and emotional learning

Emotion. 2020 Feb;20(1):105-109. doi: 10.1037/emo0000649.


Emotion regulation skills are critical to young children's school readiness and later academic achievement, as well as educators' efficacy, stress, and job satisfaction. In this article, we demonstrate how the science of emotion regulation can be translated into practical steps for educating teachers and students in schools. We begin with the crucial role of supporting educators in developing their own emotion regulation skills. We also discuss concrete and accessible tools that can be used to support both educators' own skill development and that of their students. We demonstrate how educators can integrate the teaching of emotion regulation through direct instruction, its integration into existing curricula, and daily practices and routines. The examples we provide are part of RULER, an evidence-based, whole school approach to social and emotional learning (SEL) that was developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. RULER is grounded in the theory of emotional intelligence, which emphasizes the critical role of emotion regulation in healthy development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Academic Success*
  • Emotional Intelligence / physiology*
  • Emotional Regulation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Schools
  • Social Learning / physiology*
  • Students / psychology*