The RULER approach is designed to improve the quality of classroom interactions through professional development and classroom curricula that infuse emotional literacy instruction into teaching–learning interactions. 

The key principles of RULER, and what the acronym stands for, are: 

  • Recognising emotions in self and others
  • Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions
  • Labelling emotions accurately
  • Expressing emotions appropriately
  • Regulating emotions effectively

The approach is implemented across two key strategies, 'The Anchors of Emotional Intelligence' and 'The Feeling Words Curriculum'. 


The Anchors of Emotional Intelligence

The Anchors of Emotional Intelligence includes four primary tools: the Charter, Mood Meter, Meta Moment, and Blueprint. Each is based on scientific research and helps children and adults develop their emotional intelligence skills. 

The Charter is a collaborative document that helps schools establish supportive and productive learning environments. It is created by members of the community, outlining how they aspire to treat each other. Together, the community describes how they want to feel at school, the behaviours that foster those feelings, and guidelines for preventing and managing unwanted feelings and conflict. 

Learning to identify and label emotions is a critical step toward cultivating emotional intelligence. Using the Mood Meter, students and educators become more mindful of how their emotions change throughout the day and how their emotions in turn affect their actions. 

Students learn to expand their emotional vocabulary, replacing basic feeling words with more sophisticated terms. They graduate from using words like ‘ok’ or ‘fine’ to using words like ‘alienated’ and ‘hopeless,’ or ‘tranquil’ and ‘serene.’ By teaching subtle distinctions between similar feelings, the Mood Meter empowers students and educators to recognise the full scope of their emotional lives and address all feelings more effectively. 

The Meta Moment helps students and educators handle strong emotions so that they make better decisions for themselves and their community. The Meta Moment is a brief step back from the situation when we pause and think before acting. We ask ourselves, how would my 'best self' react in this situation? What strategy can I use so that my actions reflect my best self? Over time and with practice, students and educators replace ineffective responses with productive and empowering responses to challenging situations. They make better choices, build healthier relationships, and experience greater wellbeing. 

How everyone in a school treats each other has a powerful effect on classroom performance and school climate. The Blueprint helps students and educators manage conflict effectively. Using the Blueprint, children and adults consider a disagreement from the other person’s perspective, as well as their own. They develop empathy by considering each other’s feelings and working collaboratively to identify healthy solutions to conflicts. The Blueprint helps repair relationships and build stronger ones, creating safer and more productive schools where students can learn and thrive.


The Feeling Words Curriculum

When the right words are not available to students, communication can break down. Students’ feelings become confused, suppressed or even displaced onto others. The Feeling Words Curriculum empowers students to describe the full range of human emotions. 

Students hone their emotional intelligence skills, enhance their writing and critical thinking skills, and develop the creativity, empathy, and advanced perspective-taking abilities they need to build mutually supportive relationships and make healthy decisions.

The above information is drawn from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence website:

Subscribe to our mailing list
Fields with a * are required