ERG SES D 04, Interactive Poster Session
Interactive Poster Session
The Emotional Intelligence (EI) theory has become extremely popular since 1990 as many well-known researchers such as Goleman (1998), Bar-On (2006), Salovey and Mayer (1990), have spent their career studying the impact EI has on a person’s life. The theory has been explored and documented in different fields such as nursing, construction, business and engineering, where people are expected to cope with high levels of stress and burnout (Kyriacou, 1987). The field of education is no exception. Teaching is one of the most stressful professions in the world, where teachers not only need to cope with a large number of students per classroom, a heavy workload of teaching, administration and marking, besides dealing with parents that can add to the complex levels of challenge.
It is for these reasons that a teacher needs to be able to manage and control his or her own emotions so teaching can become more effective and productive. Simultaneously, teachers can apply their understanding of EI to support students’ social and affective aspects of their learning. This study focuses on pre-service teachers’ expectations about Emotional Intelligence in their degree of study. The main goal of the research is to highlight pre-service teachers’ voices about EI, what they think about it, what they have learnt in their pre-service teacher education course at university, and whether or not they think the knowledge of EI is useful for their future work as a teacher. This study seeks to explore the question: What are the expectations of fourth year degree pre-service teachers about EI in an Australian university? What did they learn about EI in their degree?
The study involves researching EI and other socio-emotional theories such as Socio- Emotional Learning (SEL), to provide an understanding of how experience, practice and knowledge play a role in the expectations of the respondents. Emotional Intelligence draws on how people react to different situations, how we are able to change our mood toward having better relationships with one another (Corcoran & Tormey, 2012). These aspects can affect learning in many ways as research has proved that stress can also be contagious (Schonert-Reichl, 2017). In recent years, Australia has been considering the importance of socio-emotional competencies in students’ learning and academic achievement as essential. The Australian Government has placed both effort and investment into research about teacher education (White, 2016). In a recent national report on teacher education courses titled Action now: Classroom Ready Teachers there was strong criticism aimed at how teachers are being prepared at university and the curriculum content preparing future teachers (Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG), 2014). An urgent call was made in the report for changes to teacher education in order to address course accreditation that could offer opportunities and lead to potential benefits in today’s teaching space (Australian Council of Deans of Education, 2017). Australia is not the only country that has voiced concerns about teacher education; in Europe there has been a high recognition about the importance of emotions in learning as well as for teachers’ wellbeing (Palomera, Fernández-Berrocal, & Brackett, 2008).
In this study, one hundred pre-service teachers enrolled in the last year of their Bachelor of Education (Honours) degree in an Australian university were surveyed. The participants’ age ranged between 18 and 38, females and males. With ethical approval from the university, the students were invited to answer a voluntary survey through their online learning platform and face-to-face tutorials in a core unit. The survey was constructed using Likert type responses and open ended questions. This mixed method methodology was the best option as it combined the strengths of both quantitative and qualitative approaches (Creswell, 2009). Quantitative data was analysed using SPPS IBM (Pallant, 2016) and qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Quantitative data provided researchers with measurements about important aspects on the role of EI in the education pre-service courses whilst the qualitative data explored with greater depth the expectations and agentive voices of students with regards to ways students would have liked to learn more about EI and others socio-emotional theories and what they felt could be done to provide them with more knowledge as future teachers.
The results of this research indicate that fourth year pre-service teachers generally feel prepared about integrating EI into their future teaching practice. Seventy-four percent of the 100 respondents felt confident (on a scale of 1 to 10) about their implementation of EI in the classroom. It was found that 89% of the students believed that EI preparation during their degree was essential and only 11% stated that EI was not as essential. The results also indicated that an understanding and knowledge of EI is important for fourth pre-service teachers and for their future career. Students were asked about any course units, workshops or tutorials that had prepared them for their future with socio- emotional skills and EI. Data showed that students reported the resources and teaching they had received was insufficient and there was a lack of understanding around how they could apply these theories in their future classrooms. The students reported that skills such as classroom management and behavioural aspects were not well covered in the units, leaving them with a feeling of uncertainty as to how to confront these issues in the classroom. Pre-service teachers also reported that what they had learnt was from a select group of teachers who went the extra mile to teach them such skills outside curriculum delineations. The preliminary data results indicate the importance this topic has for students. More curriculum adjustments and research need to be done in future to address the gap in this area. These results support the findings from previous studies about the importance of teacher education in Australia to incorporate areas such as EI and socio-emotional learning along with content knowledge (Australian Council of Deans of Education, 2017). It is the recommendation of the researchers in this study that a larger sample be replicated, and cross comparisons made at other Australian universities and across European contexts.
Australian Council of Deans of Education. (2017). Choosing our best innovation in teacher education selection. Retrieved from https://www.acde.edu.au/?wpdmact=process&did=MjI2LmhvdGxpbms= Bar-On, R. (2006). The Bar-On Model of Emotional-Social Intelligence (ESI). Psicothema, 18, 13-25. Retrieved from http://www.psicothema.com/english/norms.asp Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. doi:10.1191/1478088706qp063oa Corcoran, R., & Tormey, R. (2012). Developing emotionally competent teachers; Emotional intelligence and pre-service teacher education. New York, NY: Peter Lang. Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design : qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. Goleman, D. (1998). Working with emotional intelligence. New York, NY: Bantam Books. Kyriacou, C. (1987). Teacher stress and burnout: an international review. Educational Research, 29(2), 146-152. doi:10.1080/0013188870290207 Pallant, J. (2016). SPSS survival manual: A step by step guide to data analysis using IBM SPSS (6th ed.) Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin. Palomera, R., Fernández-Berrocal, P., & Brackett, M. A. (2008). Emotional intelligence as a basic competency in pre-service teacher training: Some evidence. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 6(2), 437-454. Retrieved from http://investigacion-psicopedagogica.org/revista/new/english/index.php Salovey, P., & Mayer, J. D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 9(3), 185-211. doi: 10.2190/DUGG-P24E-52WK-6CDG Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2017). Social and Emotional Learning and Teachers. Future of Children, 27(1), 137-155. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/journal/futurechildren Victoria State Government. (2018). Social and emotional learning. Retrieved from https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/health/mentalhealth/Pages/socialemotion.aspx White, S. (2016). Teacher education research and education policy-makers: An Australian perspective. Journal of Education for Teaching, 42(2), 252-264. doi:10.1080/02607476.2016.1145369
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