Improving Classroom Learning Environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): A Cluster Randomized Controlled Efficacy Trial

Start Date: 2012
Funder: U.S. Department of Education Institute of Educational Sciences

CARE website

Project Summary

Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) is a unique Professional Development program for teachers developed by the Garrison Institute being tested at PSU under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Educational Sciences (IES).

CARE is different as it focuses on the well-being of the teacher. Program sessions are fun, relaxing and enjoyable. Participants learn about emotional awareness, techniques for emotion regulation, and ways to apply these skills to teaching.

We are conducting a multi-site cluster randomized controlled trial to determine the efficacy of the Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) professional development program in 32 New York public elementary schools (kindergarten through fifth grade). Our partners in this effort are Fordham University (Joshua Brown, Ph.D.) and the Garrison Institute.

Study participants include approximately 256 teachers and approximately 20 participating students per teacher/classroom. Following best practices in adult learning, CARE introduces material sequentially, utilizing a blend of didactic, experiential and interactive learning processes. Over the school year, CARE involves 30 contact hours in a group setting presented as a series of five 6-hour sessions. Between sessions, teachers receive individualized phone coaching through two 30-minute calls over two weeks. In this efficacy study, the program will be delivered by CARE co-developers or facilitators trained, supervised, and certified by the developers. Program content consists of: (1) emotion skills instruction; (2) mindfulness/stress reduction practices to promote self-regulation of attention and non-judgmental awareness; and (3) caring and listening practices to promote empathy and compassion. Program materials include a CARE Facilitator's Manual, a Participant Workbook (including presented information, exercises, and homework activities), a Participant CD containing guided mindfulness and caring activities for home practice, and a series of Power Point slides that support the didactic portions of the program.

CARE Study Staff

Principal Investigator: Patricia Jennings, M.Ed., Ph.D.

Co-Principal Investigator: Mark Greenberg, Ph.D.

Project Coordinator: Sebrina Doyle

Methodologist: Jennifer Frank, Ph.D.

CARE Program Developer and Facilitator: Christa Turksma, Drs.

Publications of Interest

Jennings, P. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2009). The Prosocial Classroom: Teacher social and emotional competence in relation to child and classroom outcomes. Review of Educational Research, 79, 491–525. [PDF]

Jennings, P. A., Snowberg, K. E., Coccia. M. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2011). Improving classroom learning environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): Results of two pilot studies. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 46(1), 37–48. [PDF]

Jennings, P. A. (2011). Promoting teachers' social and emotional competencies to support performance and reduce burnout. Chapter 13 in A. Cohan & A. Honigsfeld (Eds.), Breaking the mold of preservice and inservice teacher education: Innovative and successful practices for the twenty-first century (pp. 133–143). New York: Rowman & Littlefield. [PDF]