Changes, support, and relationships: Preliminary themes from my interviews with educators

Published by Heather Woods on

Since the last update, I have been able to transcribe a few more interviews. It still amazes me how much insight and experience educators have been able to share in our 30-40 minute conversations. I’m so excited to really delve into these experiences and carefully explore the evident themes that I have been sharing with you so far, and today, but also exploring the more subtle ideas and themes that come through.

Preliminary ideas that I’m engaging with

Today, I will be sharing a couple more ideas and experiences that stood out to me while I transcribed the interviews from Elizabeth, Eleanor, Danielle, and Sophia. These educators come from both Ontario and Alberta and teach in grades K-7. Some of the educators are occasional teachers, some teach split classes, and some in immersion.

A few ideas that stood out to me in addition to the ideas presented last time were:

  • That there is a shift over the last 5-10 years, where students’ needs are increasing, and these require SEL integration through explicit and implicit instruction.
    • However, what does that look like, and where are the resources?
  • The balance between SEL and curriculum and the need for the time dedicated just to SEL
  • Breathing techniques are prevalent in instruction as a way to manage emotions and calm the mind, so students are ready to learn.
  • In the younger grades (particularly Kindergarten), there is an emphasis on naming, feeling, and describing emotions.
  • Relationships are foundational to learning and supporting students. This requires time and space to build relationships.

These takeaways will require some unpacking. In terms of what practices might look like, the context, and elaboration of experiences. I can’t wait to share that with you in the coming weeks.

Progress on research overall

In terms of recruitment, I have posted a request on Twitter to speak with Alberta educators, but at the moment, I haven’t had any additional responses. I may shift focus for a couple of weeks to exploring the interviews I have and continuing to work on the scoping review. Then after some time has passed, I will try again to engage with some educators.

I have four more interviews to transcribe. I will hopefully finish those up early next week and then be able to import them into Atlas.ti, where I can start coding and engaging with the interviews some more.

The scoping review has been on pause the last week or so, as I have been working on getting my course on social and emotional competencies in leadership prepared and ensure the students are supported. But I will be diving back in next week and can hopefully screen a few articles a day.

Do you have any reflections or comments on the ideas mentioned above and experiences from our educators? Feel free to share in the comments below.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to email me at

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