The purpose of the action research project was to conduct a review of research regarding social emotional learning and through that lens, study student teacher growth during the course of teaching during the Western Oregon University Master of Arts in Teaching: Initial Licensure program. The three focus questions served to guide the study. The questions are: 1) how has my implementation of social emotional practices changed to support inclusive practices in the learning environment 2) how does my teaching reflect what the literature states are best practices for teacher-student relationships and 3) what social emotional learning practices are used to help students in the mathematics environment? Data sets used to analyze the research questions were taken from formal lesson plans, observation commentaries and self-journaled notes.

As the transition from middle to high school can be thought of as one of the most problematic shifts for teenagers (Southern Regional Education Board, 2002) and the highest failure rate in secondary is ninth grade, which provides a significant indicator of negative outcomes (Southern Regional Education Board, 2005), taking the time to study practices that show promise in bridging pathways to success in mathematics practices (The University of Texas Dana Center, 2020a) is prudent and worthy of time and effort.

Through the analysis, action research has demonstrated growth in teaching with regards to professional practices and building an inclusive environment, implementation of actions that foster positive teacher-student relationships and the utilization of SEL best practices that lead to an increase of student efficacy in the mathematics classroom. My findings have driven home the abundant need for consistent, social emotional learning opportunities in the classroom environment but have also revealed exponential benefits when coupled with engagement teaching strategies.

Exit Requirement

Action Research

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (initial licensure)

Committee Chair

Ken Carano

Committee Member

Jill Weber


Social emotional learning, secondary mathematics, mathematics best practices, inclusive practices, CASEL



Type (DCMI Terms)


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