East Asia Regional Council of Schools Triannual Journal

By Jim Klar, Communications Officer

For over 50 years, the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) has supported international schools and students. Recently that support came to TAS as a grant to explore the impact on students’ Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) through the RULER approach.  

RULER, an acronym for the five emotional intelligence skills (recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating), is an evidence-based approach developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. TAS Lower School Counselor Brenda Perkins sought to discover if teaching RULER skills increased students’ positive emotional experiences. Her article, “Supporting Student Social and Emotional Learning through RULER…” was published by EARCOS in the Fall 2022 Issue of the EARCOS Triannual Journal.  

Brenda Perkins, TAS Lower School Counselor published research in EARCO?S Journal

“I’ve always believed that if you want to get better at something,” said Perkins, “you need a way to measure it. In education, that’s known as action research, and anyone can do it. The three steps are action, evaluation, and reflection. In the case of the RULER approach, our research shows that it increased positive emotional experiences,” she added. 

While RULER has been implemented in thousands of public and private schools in the United States, research on its effectiveness in international schools

s lacking. International school students are often Third Culture Kids (TCKs) facing unique challenges like intense pressure for educational success, culture shock, frequent family moves, depression, and anxiety. 

RULER Method of teaching Social-Emotional Learning

Perkins worked with her fellow lower school counselors and 5th Grade teachers to collect data on interactions between students and with teachers at Taipei American School. Together, they found that RULER students had a smaller reduction in positive emotions, a greater decrease in negative emotions, and more improved emotional control than non-RULER students. In addition, students who participated in RULER classrooms reported better relationships with teachers, fewer conflicts with peers, and better student autonomy and leadership. She concluded that increasing the experience of positive emotions, decreasing the experience of negative emotions, and increasing emotional control are direct reflections of increased student well-being. 

Perkins’ research supports implementing the RULER program in international schools to improve student well-being, academic achievement, emotional regulation, and relationships within the classroom and school community. Congratulations to Brenda Perkins on her successful research. Thank you for helping Taipei American School continue its global leadership in effective education.