By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A photo shows two first graders sitting in a circle of kids shaking hands. They’re part of the Responsive Classroom approach that participated in a three year study of 2900 students in 24 elementary schools in an unnamed district in Virginia.

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The program trains 10,000 teachers a year, and while most social and emotional learning programs focus on how to teach students to manage emotions, behaviors and interactions with others, Responsive Classroom focuses on teacher language and modeling expectations, describing itself as an approach to learning rather than a program.

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Where teachers used the Responsive Classroom faithfully, 5th graders performed better on statewide assessment of math and reading skills than their peers who did not use these learning strategies.

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Surveys showed that in schools where the principal bought in to the program, teachers felt supported. Read more in Education Week.