This Action Research Project explores the principles of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in context of a writing classroom and using deliberate selection of diverse mentor texts to attempt to help students build identities as writers. This study was conducted primarily by collecting data about my teaching as I attempted to implement these ideas in my work as a student teacher during Western Oregon University’s Winter Term in 2021. I followed an Action Research Project model for self-study of my teaching practice, and I collected a handful of sources of data about my own teaching practice, including notes, lesson plans and peer commentaries on my mentor text selections.

Through the study I identified some of my own flaws in attempting to implement SEL principles in the classroom, specifically: failing to devote enough time to some classroom activities and thus failing to create a classroom that is supportive, participatory and engaging; assigning overly challenging mentor texts; and failing to engage in planned and deliberate direct instruction of SEL skills like self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making.

Nevertheless, despite the limitations of my study, I ultimately recommend writing teachers attempt to embrace SEL principles and diverse mentor texts as they teach. This is because of the strong theoretical and research backing for these ideas and my own experience seeing these practices have positive impacts on students within the limited confines of my study.

Exit Requirement

Action Research

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (initial licensure)

Committee Chair

Melanie Landon-Hays

Committee Member

Paul Miller


writing instruction, social emotional learning



Type (DCMI Terms)

Text; Image; StillImage

Subject Categories

Secondary Education

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