RULER is based on the premise that all emotions matter, and that individuals experience emotions uniquely based on their differences. RULER tools focus on building positive emotional connections across similarities and differences, creating awareness around our own emotions and the emotions of others, managing emotion with our best selves, resolving conflict with empathy and perspective taking, and restoring communities affected by conflict. In this way, RULER focuses on the development of the skills and language necessary to achieving equitable practices.
RULER curricular content addresses many of the Learning for Justice (formerly known as Teaching Tolerance) standards with lessons and activities focused on appreciation of similarities and differences in race, gender identity, cultural background, and experiences, as well as developing solutions to challenges within each unique school community and classroom. RULER does not teach a “correct” way to express or manage feelings, nor does it condone any one-size-fits-all approach to behavior. RULER helps diverse learners discover what strategies and behaviors work for them personally, with a focus on how our actions affect ourselves and others. When discussing and providing practice with the skills of emotional intelligence, educators choose reading material and other learning content that will resonate with their students’ lives. Students create and choose scenarios that represent their own experiences so they can practice applying emotion skills to actual situations in their lives in ways that make sense to them. In this way, RULER’s design encourages and reinforces culturally responsive teaching practices. We also are currently working on adaptations of RULER to serve students with diverse learning needs, including best ways of providing access to SEL for students of all abilities.