Frequently Asked Questions SDM FAQ

How do I get more information on the program?

The Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Program at the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences - University Behavioral Health Care can be reached by phone at (732)-235-9280 or by e-mail at for further information.

What populations are served?

The SDM/PS approach has been used successfully with general and special education children at the elementary and middle school levels.

Has this approach been researched?

Yes. Results have shown that teachers and elementary school students learn the target skills and that this results in positive behavioral outcomes in school. Positive long-term behavioral effects were found in these students when they became middle and high school students. To find out more, visit Research/Publications.

Does this approach link with state and national core curriculum standards?

Principals, administrators, and teachers who work with SDM/PS have found a wide range of ways that program concepts overlap with state and national core curriculum standards. Skills for decision making in the personal, interpersonal, and community applications underlie many curriculum standards.

Is this an add-on program?

We prefer NOT to think of it as an "add-in" program. Once a brief introduction to SDM/PS skills is provided, teachers can infuse these skills into everyday classroom activities.

How much training is needed and what are the costs?

The SDM/PS staff provides a two to three day in-service training for a designated team of teachers, administrators, and support personnel. The training workshop provides a foundation in the background research of the program, an introduction to the curriculum, and "hands-on" practice with the lessons through curriculum labs. Each training is tailored to the needs of the school/district. The training sessions are designed so that participants are prepared to teach the program directly to children upon the conclusion of the workshop. All participants receive curricula, colorful bulletin board posters depicting the key skills, and additional engaging student worksheets geared to the particular population of students. Follow-up consultation and Leadership Team training can be arranged as needed. Costs will depend on the specific training and consultation needs, and the materials requested. Please contact us at, or by phone at (732)-235-9280 for details.

How do districts fund this program?

Generally, districts have funded SDM/PS training and consultation through funds for staff development and/or prevention programming. For example, many districts have implemented our program as part of their alcohol/substance abuse prevention program, character education, violence prevention initiatives and have received grants to help fund implementation. SDM/PS staff will be glad to help you in grant development.

What is the relationship between emotional intelligence, social and emotional learning, and social decision making/problem solving?

Emotional intelligence is a term that has been popularized by Dan Goleman's 1995 book of the same name, in which he summarizes emotional and social abilities that have been found to be more important than the traditional IQ measure in predicting success in life. In his book, he reviews a wide range of research and organizes predictive skills into five main domains that include: self awareness, managing emotions, self-motivation, emotional sensitivity, and social skills.

Social and emotional learning is the term most often used by educators when referring to emotional intelligence. The reason they do not use the term EQ is that, unlike IQ, skills linked with the EQ term are much more flexible and capable of being developed through learning and training. Therefore, educators would prefer to call this area social and emotional learning.

Our Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Program is one of six pioneering efforts, highlighted by Dan Goleman in his book, to promote EQ abilities in elementary schools.

How is the SDM/PS Program involved in promoting emotional intelligence in schools?

SDM/PS is a research validated framework which yields instructional methods that can provide educators with a valuable informed base for programming areas of social and emotional learning. Increasingly, through our relationships with CASEL (The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) and other professional organizations, we work with other professionals working in the field to both contribute what we have learned and continue to develop by sharing ideas with professionals from other research based programs. It is an exciting time of growth for all of us, as this important area of children's learning becomes increasing recognized as critical to life success, health and happiness.

Can I see a sample activity?

Link to "The Problem Diary"

Last modified: