School-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programs are presented to educators with little understanding of the program components that have the greatest leverage for improving targeted outcomes. Conducted in the context of a randomized controlled trial, the present study used variation in treatment teachers’ (N = 143) implementation of four core components of the Responsive Classroom approach to examine relations between each component and the quality of teachers’ emotional, organizational, and instructional interactions in third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms (controlling for pre-intervention interaction quality and other covariates). We also examined the extent to which these relations varied as a function of teachers’ baseline levels of interaction quality. Indices of teachers’ implementation of Morning Meeting, Rule Creation, Interactive Modeling, and Academic Choice were derived from a combination of teacher-reported surveys and classroom observations. Ratings of teacher–student classroom interactions were aggregated across five observations conducted throughout the school year. Structural path models indicated that teachers’ use of Morning Meeting and Academic Choice related to higher levels of emotionally supportive interactions; Academic Choice also related to higher levels of instructional interactions. In addition, teachers’ baseline interaction quality moderated several associations such that the strongest relations between RC component use and interaction quality emerged for teachers with the lowest baseline interaction quality. Results highlight the value of examining individual program components toward the identification of program active ingredients that can inform intervention optimization and teacher professional development.
- Core components
- Responsive Classroom approach
- Social and emotional learning
- Teacher–student interactions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health