Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education PhD, Joint with San Diego State University


School of Educational Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Douglas Fisher

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Thomas Luschei

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Nancy Frey

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2023 Marisol Thayre


Secondary ELA, Social-emotional learning

Subject Categories



In light of an increased focus on the importance of soft skills to academic achievement and success later in life, educators are looking towards social-emotional learning (SEL) as a means for addressing the diverse needs of students. This qualitative study was aimed at understanding how secondary English Language Arts (ELA) teachers use literary texts in their classrooms to enhance social-emotional learning, specifically, their training, text selection processes, and methods for articulating and assessing ELA and SEL outcomes. A multiple-case study design featuring semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and content analysis of curricular materials was used to develop a robust understanding of the processes, resources, and motivations of three SEL-minded secondary English teachers. The results revealed that the participants had similar reasons and motivations for infusing their content curriculum with SEL, but had little formal training or resources to draw from. The participants relied on their knowledge of and relationships with their students to select appropriate texts for instruction and reported relevance and perspective-taking as major influences on the texts they chose to feature in their classrooms. While the participants could clearly identify and assess their students’ success with ELA outcomes, they did not have a shared definition of what SEL was, nor were there clear outcomes and methods for assessing growth in social-emotional skills. The study results indicate a need for purposeful training in the use of SEL in the content classroom, which may include a shared and consistent SEL model and accompanying standards across schools or districts, as well as an established tool for measuring SEL outcomes. Additionally, this study highlights the importance of leveraging student-teacher relationships in creating student-centered and standards-based curriculum that addresses the needs of the whole child.



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