Deirdre Hon | University of Portland

Deirdre Hon

Assistant Professor of Education

Deirdre HonAfter spending many years as a high school and middle school science teacher, I became interested in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in education. This is how students and educators develop interpersonal and intrapersonal skills to manage their emotions, show empathy for others, and make decisions that are healthy for them and the people around them.

There is strong research linking SEL to positive student impacts. SEL can be the foundation for creating caring, just, and inclusive schools where students get to explore their full selves as they learn and develop, and teachers are the engines that drive it. That’s why I became passionate about researching how to support teachers and help them develop skills to teach SEL in their classrooms and schools.

I worked with Oregon’s Teacher Standards and Practices Committee (TSPC) to develop standards for the creation of an SEL Specialty Endorsement as an add-on to Oregon Teaching Licenses. I then worked with fellow SEL practitioners and scholars to create a three-course series in SEL here at UP that culminates in this specialty endorsement. I’m also serving on Oregon Department of Education’s SEL Advisory Group with the goal of creating K-12 SEL standards.

My current research centers on how pre-service teachers develop resilience and how they cultivate their own toolkit to teach SEL in their classrooms. We are still learning more about the skills and dispositions that pre-service teachers need to do this work as they get into teaching, so part of my research is a multimethod study to examine the impacts of the SEL program at UP on pre-service teachers. I have included both undergraduate and graduate students in my research work, including psychology and education majors.

These courses in SEL are new at UP and there aren’t many programs like them in the US, so I am constantly involved in action research—collecting data, analyzing it, and adapting my teaching. I’m constantly inspired by the teachers I work with. They are so devoted and determined, it makes me excited to support them to become the teachers they want to be.

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