The RULER approach is designed to teach emotional intelligence to people of all ages, with the goal of creating a healthier, more equitable, innovative, and compassionate society.

Emotions Matter

Research shows that emotions influence:

  • Attention, memory, and learning
  • Decision making
  • Creativity
  • Mental and physical wellbeing
  • Ability to form and maintain positive relationships
  • Academic and workplace performance

The RULER approach acknowledges the value and impact of emotions in our everyday effectiveness. The RULER approach is designed to teach emotional intelligence to people of all ages, with the goal of creating a healthier, more equitable, innovative, and compassionate society.

The RULER Skills

Recognizing emotions in oneself and others
Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions
Labeling emotions with a nuanced vocabulary
Expressing emotions in accordance to cultural norms and social context
Regulating emotions with helpful strategies

As emotions influence so many aspects of our everyday effectiveness, it is important that we are skilled in handling our emotions. RULERskills help people of all ages to use their emotions wisely, opening opportunities for us to succeed in school, at work, and in life. These skills are both personal and social, such that a network emerges with positive changes reinforced.

The RULER Tools

RULER skill development relies on four core tools, which are introduced to all stakeholders in the school community—school leaders, teachers, staff, students, and families.

Charter: Builds and sustains positive emotional climates by creating agreed-upon norms for how people want to feel and how they can help each other to experience those feelings.

Mood Meter: Enhances self- and social awareness and supports the development of a nuanced emotion vocabulary and a range of strategies for regulating emotion.

Meta-Moment: Provides a process for responding to emotional situations with strategies that align with one’s “best self” and that support healthy relationships and personal wellbeing.

Blueprint: Supports the development of empathy and conflict resolution skills by serving as a guide for reflecting on conflict and restoring affected communities.

How RULER Works

RULER starts with staff personal and professional learning and continues with classroom instruction and family engagement and education.

Staff Personal and Professional Learning: RULER adoption begins when a small team from a school (one leader and two educators or mental health professionals) attends a training institute on the principles and tools of emotional intelligence. Over time, with coaching support and online resources, all school staff participate in RULER skill-building activities so they can be role models and knowledgeable implementers of RULER for students and families.

Classroom Instruction: Student learning content follows the Understanding by Design framework and aligns with both social and emotional learning and academic standards. In early childhood and elementary school, RULER embeds into existing academic curricula. Middle and high school courses focus on the intersection of social, emotional, and cognitive aspects of early and late adolescence.

Family Engagement and Education: Content for families supports what students learn in school, using everyday and culturally responsive language for accessibility. School leaders, parent leaders, teachers, and students work to engage and educate families.

How RULER Creates Change


RULER team

The RULER approach was co-developed by Dr. Marc Brackett, founder of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Our dedicated team includes educators, researchers, trainers and coaches whose mission is to continue to provide solutions to support to schools and districts implementing RULER all over the world.

Meet the team