Interested in this innovation?

Great! Our mission is to help innovations spread.

Contact the innovator here:

Mr Paul Flanagan

Bookmark the ones you like!

You can bookmark all your favorite innovations to your profile.

The RULER Approach is a systematic, whole school approach that develops Social and Emotional Literacy skills in both students and educators

The RULER Approach

Bendigo, Australia
Girton Grammar was the first Australian School to adopt this approach in 2011. In 2012 we were awarded the Marvin Maurer Award from YALE University for Excellence in teaching Social and Emotional literacy. Our work continues to focus on developing Emotional Intelligence in our students, staff and parents.

RULER at Girton Grammar School

In 2011, a team of Girton teachers were sent to Yale University to study under Doctor Marc Brackett, Ph.D. Doctor Brackett is the Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. These teachers returned to Australia with a plan to implement the RULER programme, firstly in the Girton Grammar Junior School and then, gradually, across the whole school population. Since then more Girton teachers have been to Yale and have returned armed with the knowledge and expertise to continue the implementation of the programme. With the expert guidance and training of Yale University’s Centre for Emotional Intelligence, Girton has become a world leader in the implementation of Emotional Intelligence education in a School environment.

   This has been achieved through the introduction of the RULER approach to developing emotional intelligence and emotional literacy. RULER encourages perspective-taking and empathy, self and social awareness, regulation skills and helps develop a culture and climate for emotional Intelligence to grow so that students invest more fully in the health and well-being of their classmates,teachers, parents and themselves.

In it's simplest terms RULER is an acronym where we teach students and people to Recognise, Understand, Label, Express and Regulate their emotions.

In our first year of implementation we recorder a drop in bullying and incident reports of 30% and in 2016 we worked closely with The Centre for Emotional Intelligence at YALE to survey our students on this work and how they felt at school. Students provided frank and fearless feedback on what they thought works in a school setting and what could be improved when it comes to teaching young people how to understand and express their emotions.

Students were also surveyed using a social media app developed by Yale University and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way Foundation” to explore how young people feel at school. “Accepted” and "Grateful" were the top responses from our students. This is in stark contrast to "stressed" ,“tired” and "bored" responses from 49,000 American high school students using the same survey method.

Our work is adaptable to many environments and each year we reach out to members of our community to offer training in Emotional Intelligence. We train local kindergartens, businesses and of course our parent community in this work.  


Professor Marc Brackett from YALE university is the co founder of the Ruler Approach.

Read more ›
Innovation Overview
1 - 18
Age Group
Tips for implementation
Schools require training to use this approach. We train schools in conjunction with YALE university. We train our local community. We train anyone with a face!
Contact information
Mr Paul Flanagan

See this innovation in action

Regulation = Reputation
Paul Flanagan
Paul Flanagan being interviewed about RULER
Paul Flanagan


Achievements & Awards


Spread of the innovation

loading map...